Madison fire responds to second CO alarm in 3 days

Published: Nov. 22, 2022 at 1:47 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - A carbon monoxide alarm at a Madison apartment complex blared for approximately an hour late Monday night before anyone decided to call 911, the Madison Fire Department reported, as it reminded the community of the dangers of the deadly gas.

When firefighters arrived at the La Ville apartments around 10:30 p.m., no one was evacuating despite the fact the alarm could be heard in the first-floor hallway, MFD’s statement recounted. Firefighters only learned about the high CO levels after one of the residents, who claimed to have been hearing it for the past hour, called 911 because the alarm was “really annoying.”

After getting to the complex, which is in the 400 block of W. Gorham St., firefighters discovered CO levels in the underground garage reached 110 ppm, or more than five times the level recorded in the first-floor hallway. After first checking to see if any cars were running, which is a common cause of elevated carbon monoxide levels, firefighters eventually traced the issue to a garage heater.

They turned off the heater and began airing out the garage while Madison Gas & Electric technicians were called in to confirm the heater was the cause. When CO levels near the heater soared to 2,000 ppm when they turned it back on, crews were sure. They took the heater offline and notified building maintenance that it was the problem.

MFD noted this is its second carbon monoxide call in just three days. On Saturday, they were called to a home on the west side where a furnace had driven up CO levels in the house.

Because carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless, firefighters urge people to have CO detectors on every level of the home, including in the basement. Some common sources, it notes, are: small engines, stoves, lanterns, open flames, space heaters, fireplaces, gas ranges, water heaters, blocked chimneys, furnaces or running a car inside a garage.

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