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Man feels 'lucky' after carbon monoxide leak sent 9 to hospital

(Mike Radice/KSL-TV)


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PROVO — A man visiting a Provo apartment said Monday that he and other residents and visitors are lucky to be alive after a weekend carbon monoxide leak sent them to a hospital.

If the apartments didn’t have carbon monoxide detectors, he said, they may not be alive today.

The leak occurred Sunday while Gregorio Torres and his wife were visiting with friends who live at The Boulders complex, 750 S. 650 West in Provo.

"When we came in, we just started getting a headache," he said. "We didn't notice anything (else), and we stayed for an hour sitting and talking.”

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas.

About 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Provo firefighters and the Red Cross were called to the apartments after a tenant reported their CO detector had gone off.

Firefighters knocked on their door and told them to evacuate. Nine people from a four-plex were treated at a local hospital due to elevated levels of carbon monoxide.

Torres said he didn't know he had CO poisoning. He, his wife and a friend were treated in a hyperbaric chamber.

Questar shut off the gas to the building for the night. On Monday, the complex installed new stoves in the affected apartments. Torres' friend has a new CO detector, and Torres said he'll be getting one for his home in Magna, too.

"We feel lucky because other than that, we don't know what's going to happen,” Torres said.

Provo Fire Battalion Chief Jeremy Headman said firefighters were called to the same complex the night before. At that time, gas company workers thought they had pinpointed the source of the carbon monoxide to a stove.

On Sunday, Headman said investigators believed a faulty appliance — such as a water heater, furnace or stove — was causing the leak, but they had not pinpointed where the carbon monoxide was coming from.

If a carbon monoxide detector goes off, a firefighter told residents to run outside and call for help. Then firefighters can get an accurate reading and determine if there's a problem.

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