Flagstaff, AZ- Six people were hospitalized and at least two dozen others were sickened from a carbon monoxide leak at a Bank of America building in Flagstaff, officials said Tuesday.
Flagstaff Fire Department spokesman Capt. Mark Johnson said they received calls at 4:30 p.m. about a possible gas leak after several employees complained about symptoms of nausea, headaches, dizziness and vomiting.
When fire officials arrived on scene, they conducted air monitoring tests that revealed carbon monoxide levels between 400 and 500 parts per million throughout the building. Officials evacuated the building and requested an additional six engines and a battalion chief due to the high levels of carbon monoxide, Johnson said.
“Most people can only be exposed to that amount of carbon monoxide for 20 to 25 minutes, and after that it becomes lethal,” Johnson said.
Roughly 25 Bank of America workers were treated on scene, including six workers with more serious symptoms who were sent to Flagstaff Medical Center, Johnson said.
Johnson said 911 calls were also received from affected employees who had left work early thinking they had the flu.
Johnson said the high levels of carbon monoxide appeared to be caused by a mechanical failure in the boiler area of the building that heats water.
Johnson also said anything that burns fuel such as fire places, gas furnaces, gas cook tops and gas water heaters emits some level of carbon monoxide.
Normal levels of carbon monoxide range between 0 and 20 parts per million and anything over 35 parts per million should be called in, Johnson said.
The incident is still under investigation by the Flagstaff Fire Department.