Winnipeg apartment building evacuated early Thursday morning due to carbon monoxide

Residents of an apartment building in Winnipeg’s Linden Woods neighbourhood were forced from their homes early Thursday morning because of a gas leak in the facility.

The Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service responded to reports at 12:41 a.m. Thursday about a smell of gas in a four-storey apartment building on Fairhaven Road.

Crews used monitors to confirm and measure the amount of carbon monoxide, which itself is odourless. They found readings between 70 and 90 parts per million throughout the building, the city said in a news release. Carbon monoxide becomes dangerous at 10 to 20 parts per million.

The building was immediately evacuated, and the fire-paradmedic service’s mass incident response vehicle and Winnipeg Transit buses were sent to give residents shelter, the release said.

Three individuals were assessed by paramedics, but no one needed to go to hospital.

Manitoba Hydro workers assessed the issue and believe the cause of the gas buildup was due to snow blocking a gas-fired furnace on the roof of the apartment building, the city said.

WFPS crews ventilated the building and residents were then able to re-enter.

The fire-paramedic service is reminding residents about the danger of carbon monoxide — sometimes called the silent killer. It is a colourless, odourless and tasteless gas.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are flu-like and include nausea, dizziness, confusion, vision and hearing loss. Carbon monoxide poisoning can be fatal.

To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, the WFPS suggests:

  • Never idling vehicles in an attached garage, even if the door is open.
  • Having fuel-burning appliances, such as furnaces, wood-burning fireplaces and gas dryers, cleaned and checked each year by a qualified service technician.
  • Ensuring all fresh air intake vents, exhaust vents and chimneys are clear of snow, insulation, leaves, bird nests, lint and debris.
  • Making sure wood stoves are properly installed and vented.
  • Only operating gasoline-powered engines, charcoal or propane barbecues or grills, or kerosene stoves in outdoor and open spaces.

The department also suggests that residents install a carbon monoxide alarm on every floor of their home.

Anyone who suspects carbon monoxide in their home should exit immediately and call 911.

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