Carbon Monoxide Leak Leads to Evacuation In Germantown
(Germantown, TN) Wednesday morning, three people were overcome by carbon monoxide fumes at the “Germantown Collection” shopping center at Poplar and Exeter.
“I could smell the gas and I honestly thought it was from my oven. you know. I didn’t think anything different about it,” said Ted Baker who was making pizza dough at Little Ceasars when fire crews pulled up,
“The fire marshal came in and told me to evacuate immediately: that it was spreading, the levels were getting really high,” said Baker.
He didn’t realize deadly carbon monoxide was working its way through the air ducts, and had already overcome three employees at Fantastic Sams.
Germantown Fire Chief John Selberg said the CO leak was a dangerous threat to the victims, “The CO levels in their bloodstream, I couldn’t really give you that much detail on that, but some of them were enough to give us some concern.”
The leak was traced to an improperly vented water heater outside a Chili’s restaurant.
Chief Selberg said, apparently CO gas fumes were being pulled back into the shopping center’s air handling system, “It was up in the 200 parts per million range which is considered pretty high for CO.”
Firefighters and MLGW workers used gas monitors to trace the leak, but not before evacuating around thirty people from nine businesses,
“And that’s what we’re concerned about: how long they had this CO level in the building. cause basically you can’t smell the Co.”
The afternoon hazmat call was a shock to Ali Helou, owner of Smoker’s Corner.
He had just stepped out for a bite to eat, “I’m in the sandwich shop, I step out and I see the officers and the fire department. I say, ‘god I don’t know what’s going on, the war has started.”
Firefighters aired out the businesses affected by the gas leak and waited for levels to drop before letting people back in.
the names of those affected have not been released.