Watertown, WI – A carbon monoxide scare at a Marquardt Village apartment on Monday afternoon
caused 40 residents and staff members to be evacuated for almost two hours.
According to fire Chief Henry Butts, the Watertown Fire Department received
a call for an activated fire alarm at the Anna Nitschmann Apartments on
Monday at 2:03 p.m. While firefighters were in the building they also
noticed the carbon monoxide alarm was activated, Butts said.
Firefighters used gas detectors and found a high concentration of carbon
monoxide throughout the structure, Butts said. The detectors found that 180
parts per million of carbon monoxide was in the basement, 89 parts per
million was in the first floor and 40 parts per million was in the second
Assistant fire Chief Mike Quint said 35 parts per million is the maximum
allowable concentration for continuous exposure in any eight-hour period
according to Occupational Safety and Health Administration law. He added 100
parts per million or greater is a potentially lethal level.
The high carbon monoxide levels were caused by a project in the basement
involving gasoline powered pressure washers and a ventilation fan that
malfunctioned, Butts said.
When firefighters arrived to the scene, most of the residents were evacuated
from the building because of the activated fire alarm, which was also caused
by the pressure washers, Butts said. Other residents were found in the
designated safe areas in the building, he added.
Quint said the evacuations went smoothly because Marquardt keeps a list of
which residents are inside the building and which are gone.
Two school buses provided by DH Enterprises and several Marquardt vehicles
took the residents to the Milo Loppnow Apartments while firefighters
ventilated the building, Butts said. The residents were allowed to return to
their apartments shortly before 4 p.m.
No injuries were reported.