Virgina Beach, VA- Five people are recovering from exposure to carbon monoxide at Emerald Point Apartments off Laskin Road where firefighters detected dangerous levels of the toxic gas in 18 apartments Tuesday night.

The first call came in to 911 dispatchers around 10 p.m. Tuesday. 10 minutes after they cleared the scene another carbon monoxide alarm went off at the complex.

Battalion Chief Richard Kephardt of the Virginia Beach Fire Department said crews were on the scene of the second CO alarm when, “another woman came up from another street saying she had her alarm going off also.”

Chief Kephardt said, “The officer in charge at that point, because it was the middle of the night and people were sleeping, decided to cut off the natural gas supply because it was so wide spread.”

Neal Sluss and his fiance Laura Patton said they were treated at a local hospital for CO exposure.

“And I’m four months pregnant so we definetely wanted to go to the hospital,” said Patton.

“We were like, thank God this thing went off,” said Patton, pointing to the CO detector property managers had previously installed in her apartment.

Management posted letters on each of the 600 apartment doors at the complex Wednesday morning alerting residents to the situation.

“And now we have contractors, Virginia Natural Gas, Virginia Beach Code Enforcement and the fire department assembled in order to get services back

up in a safe manner,” said Tim Faulkner, president of Breeden Property Management which owns the complex.

Faulkner says his company decided to install CO detectors in every apartment even though they were not required to do so by law.

“We have gas appliances in these units and ever since we have owned the property since 2004 we ensured CO detectors, as well as smoke detectors,

were installed in every unit,” said Faulkner.

Fire investigators say it will likely take them a couple of days to systematically go through each of the 600 apartments and check the appliances and CO levels before they can turn the gas back on throughout the complex.

Faulkner said his company is doing everything possible to make sure the residents get their services turned back on as soon as possible but only when they are absolutely sure it is safe.

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a dangerous gas that will displace the body’s ability to carry oxygen. CO is an odorless, colorless gas that is a byproduct of combustion from fossil fuels. Occupants that use natural gas for heating, cooking or power their hot water heater are encouraged to have

a work carbon monoxide detector in their home.

As a reminder with the upcoming Hurricane Season, portable generators are one of the biggest producers of CO, and should NEVER be started and ran inside any structure.