Pittsfield, PA. – A local man got lucky yesterday. Very lucky, according to Pittsfield Fire Capt. Steven Peaslee.
City firefighters responded to a noontime call of a strong odor emanating from 72 Second St., and quickly discovered a potentially lethal combination – an oil-burning furnace on the fritz and an unplugged carbon-monoxide detector.
They also discovered a 49-year-old man who appeared to be showing strong signs of carbon monoxide poisoning. The man was treated at Berkshire Medical Center and later released.
“He’s going to be OK,” Peaslee said. “It could have been a tragedy.”
Because the gas-detecting device was unplugged, it failed to warn residents about a serious gas leak. Carbon monoxide readings taken inside the building
– a former barbershop – reached 100 parts per million. The detector, however, should have sounded an alarm when levels reached 9 parts per
million, according to Peaslee.
“There were elevated readings throughout the entire building,” said Peaslee, adding that the furnace apparently malfunctioned.
The building has three apartment units and four tenants. It was not immediately clear who owns the property.
“It’s an insidious gas. It sort of creeps up on you,” Peaslee said of carbon monoxide.
It took firefighters using large fans about an hour to safely ventilate the building, which was temporarily evacuated. The furnace was shut off until the owner addresses the problem.
“They’ll have no heat,” Peaslee said.
The furnace was “red tagged,” which means a red tag was literally placed on the unit, where it will remain until a licensed heating specialist repairs the furnace and returns the tag to the fire department, Peaslee said.
The man sickened by the gas told fire officials that his headache got progressively worse, yet “he didn’t realize anything was wrong.”