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Dave Olson, Published October 30 2013

Fargo apartment residents escape harm after furnace leaks carbon monoxide

FARGO – Residents of a Fargo apartment building escaped harm early Wednesday after a furnace released carbon monoxide into the building.

According to Assistant Fargo Fire Chief Leroy Skarloken:

Residents of an apartment building in the 1500 block of North University Drive called authorities about 6:45 a.m. after smelling natural gas.

A family living in a ground-floor apartment was already outside when firefighters arrived, but firefighters had to rouse a man who was sleeping in an efficiency apartment in the lower level of the structure.

Skarloken said a tester showed carbon monoxide levels as high as 260 parts per million in some portions of the building. He said levels of 9 parts per million can be dangerous.

Skarloken said the gas furnace was turned on Wednesday morning and residents smelled natural gas about 40 minutes later.

He said if the furnace had been turned on the night before and the residents had gone to sleep, they could have been in jeopardy.

“It certainly could have been a real serious problem,” he said, adding that the incident underscores the importance of having any fossil-fueled appliance checked out at the start of a heating season.

“It’s also a real good idea to have a carbon monoxide detector in the house,” Skarloken said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555