Saturday, 2:15 PM
Dozens taken to hospitals after Taunton carbon monoxide incident
(George Rizer/Globe Staff)
City inspector Bob Prozzi, center, talked with Deputy Fire Chief Ron Nastri, left, and Chief Leman W. Padelford about the source of the fumes.
By David Abel, Globe Staff
Thirty-eight elderly residents and eight employees of a Taunton nursing home were taken to area hospitals today after high levels of carbon monoxide were detected in their building.
The suspect generator
Local authorities and nursing home officials said no one was injured in the incident at the Taunton Nursing Home complex off Norton Avenue. "This was strictly precautionary," said Mayor Charles Crowley. "They took them to be on the safe side."
Fire Chief Leman W. Padelford said firefighters had evacuated the old and north wings of the nursing home, removing some 80 people.
He said that carbon monoxide sensors registered an elevated level of the potentially deadly gas. Levels of up to 120 parts per million were detected, while a normal reading is under 10 parts per million, he said.
Padelford would not speculate on the source of the carbon monoxide. He said firefighters were investigating.
But Chuck Crush, the nursing home administrator, said he believed that the elevated level of the gas was the result of exhaust from a nursing home generator that kicked in during a power failure that struck the city this morning.
He said he believes that carbon monoxide released from the outside generator may have been sucked in by multiple air conditioners running above it.
As a precaution, officials are looking at the generator and planning to run exhaust pipes to the roof above the air conditioners, Crush said.
Crush said the generator kicks in automatically during power failures. A power failure started at 6:30 a.m. and lasted until 8:30 a.m.
The carbon monoxide sensors, which Crush said were installed in January at the city-run nursing home, signaled the fire department at 7:48 a.m.
Crush said that staff and residents first learned about the carbon monoxide levels when firefighters arrived during breakfast time.
"No one complained of ill effects, and the residents didn't want to leave," Crush said. "It interrupted their breakfast. I told them we would have a brunch later."
Firefighters and other officials were ventilating the building this morning and said they expected all residents would be able to return today.
"The residents were safe at all times," Crush said. "We practice for this yearly and it went off better than our practice."
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