Dozens treated after carbon monoxide scare at Saskatoon apartment building

SASKATOON — Officials say dozens of people who received medical attention after deadly levels of carbon monoxide were found inside a Saskatoon apartment building are no longer in hospital.

Fire Chief Morgan Hackl said an emergency doctor first sounded the alarm about possible carbon monoxide exposure after treating a patient.

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Crews arrived at the apartment complex about 6 p.m. Thursday and helped evacuate 50 people, including children.

"What occurred was very commendable of the (emergency) doctor's recognition of what this could possibly be," Hackl said Friday.

Crews detected more than 400 parts per million of carbon monoxide in the building's boiler room, he said, adding people exposed to levels that high can die within two to three hours of exposure.

High levels of the gas were also found in other parts of the building.

Ambulances took 29 people to hospital and all were in stable condition, said Troy Davies with Medavie Health Services.

Hackl said his information showed 27 residents were taken to hospital, and that 20 others later sought medical attention.

The Saskatchewan Health Authority said a mass casualty alert was issued and additional staff members, including doctors, were brought in. Patients ended up in emergency departments at two different hospitals and were treated for potential carbon monoxide poisoning.

All patients have since left the hospitals, Lisa Collard, director of emergency services for the city, said in a statement.

The health authority added that the Salvation Army is providing residents of the apartment building with emergency shelter.

The fire department said a gas inspector found a venting problem in the boiler room and the building was likely to remain closed Friday. It also said the property didn't have sensors to detect carbon monoxide.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 15, 2021.

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