Carbon monoxide leak prompts emergency response at Milwaukee apartment complex

MILWAUKEE -- One resident at a southside Milwaukee apartment complex is fortunate to not have been home early Wednesday morning when a carbon monoxide leak hit dangerous levels their unit.

Milwaukee Fire Department officials said the leak started in a single unit in the eastern complex of Seaway Terrace Apartments on 1st and Layton at about 4:30 a.m..

When crews arrived, carbon monoxide levels had reached 62 parts per million in the unit and had seeped into neighboring apartments and common areas of the building.

Most carbon monoxide alarms begin sounding at detected levels between 36 and 99 ppm, and firefighters wear breathing masks before entering areas with levels of 50 ppm and above, an official said.

Another resident in a neighboring unit called 911 after their carbon monoxide alarm began sounding.

The leak did not prompt a full evacuation, thanks to a barrier door in the hallway of the building, an official said. 

Responders were able to isolate the unit and turn off the heating system.

There were no injuries and firefighters used electric fans and opened windows for ventilation. 

It's unclear what prompted the leak, but WE Energies spokeswoman Cathy Schulze said the company was notified of the situation and sent crews out to investigate.

Carbon monoxide is a deadly, colorless, odorless gas. Fuel-burning appliances such as furnaces, ranges, water heaters, and fireplaces are common sources of carbon monoxide in residential areas.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headache, fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea and dizziness, progressing to more severe symptoms including mental confusion and loss of consciousness with higher carbon monoxide levels.

Wisconsin has a state law that requires the installation of carbon monoxide detectors in homes and apartment buildings. 


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