11 people affected by carbon monoxide leak at Cook County church | State and regional

EVANSTON – High levels of carbon monoxide inside a church in Evanston sent six people, including a toddler, to area hospitals for observation on Sunday afternoon while five other people were treated at the scene, officials at Evanston said.

Evanston fire crews have detected carbon monoxide concentration levels five times above the threshold for what is considered dangerous inside the Mount Pisgah Ministry in the 1800 block of Church Street in the suburb north towards 12:40 p.m., officials said in a written statement.

Also called CO2, carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that is fatal when inhaled at high levels over time. Readings inside the church on Sunday showed a concentration of over 500 parts per million; safety officials have said exposure to a concentration of more than 100 parts per million is considered dangerous.

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No one was seriously injured, but the initial call indicated an unresponsive toddler. A fire official said the child needed advanced resuscitation care in the ambulance on the way to hospital. The toddler, whose age and gender were not disclosed, was one of six people who were taken to hospital as a precaution and whose condition stabilized, officials said . Five others were treated on the spot and refused transport.

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Firefighters raised a high alarm to call additional firefighters from neighboring communities to help at the scene.

Initial reports were of a leaking furnace, but NICOR workers were trying to rule out other sources of the gas, the statement said. Calls to church were not answered on Sunday afternoon.

Firefighters reminded residents to properly operate heating units and smoke detectors as winter approaches.


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