Fargo firefighters responded to a report of a gas smell in a business complex at 11:27 a.m. this morning at 4820 30th Avenue South. The office building is two stories and contains businesses and a daycare. When firefighters arrived, they found elevated carbon monoxide (CO) readings throughout the building but no indication of any type of flammable gas.
CO readings varied in the building from 25 parts per million (ppm) in the daycare to 70 ppm on the second floor. The office spaces were evacuated. The children in the daycare were sheltered-in-place by moving them all to one room with a low CO reading and then clearing the air in the daycare first. FM Ambulance paramedics and Fargo firefighters evaluated approximately 15 adults and 20 children from the building. Two adults went to the hospital in their own vehicles. None of the children needed to be evaluated further.
The cause of the elevated CO was a construction crew using a gas-powered concrete saw inside the building without ventilation. All gas-powered equipment creates some level of CO and should never be used inside without adequate ventilation and a way to keep any CO that escapes the ventilation system from entering the rest of the building.
This is a timely reminder during the heating season that CO is a dangerous gas that cannot be seen or smelled. Any flame found in things such as furnaces, stoves, and cars produces CO, especially in poorly maintained appliances and cars. Every home should have a CO detector since CO gas cannot be detected by the eyes or nose. Some of the symptoms of CO poisoning include headache, nausea, shortness of breath, confusion, blurred vision, and loss of consciousness.