Vernon Fire Rescue Services were called to the National Bank Financial building on 30 Avenue Friday afternoon where they found high levels of carbon monoxide. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)

Downtown Vernon building evacuated due to high carbon monoxide levels

One person was taken to hospital Friday afternoon as a precaution for CO exposure

A downtown Vernon building was evacuated Friday afternoon due to high levels of carbon monoxide.

Vernon Fire Rescue Services were called at 2:41 p.m. to the National Bank Financial building at 31 Street and 30 Avenue, where they detected high readings of CO inside the building.

“The three storey building was evacuated and one person was transported to hospital as a precaution for CO exposure,” said Christy Poirier, Communications Manager for the City of Vernon.

FortisBC also attended the scene and found that the cause was malfunctioning rooftop HVAC units, and an air conditioning repair company was called to work on the units.

“By the time people were able to return to the building, most people had already gone home. When VFRS cleared the scene at 4:15 pm, Fortis and the heating/cooling company were still working on site,” said Poirier.

Following the incident, Fire Rescue reminded people about the importance of having CO detectors in homes and office buildings, and that multi-storey buildings should have a detector on every floor.

B.C. just had its first-ever Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week on the first week of November. According to BC Coroners Service there were 119 CO poisoning deaths in the province between 2008 and 2017.

John McMahon, FortisBC’s Director of Safety, Training and Fleet, shared thoughts on CO safety on Nov. 1

“Natural gas is a safe and reliable energy source and it is important to keep appliances well maintained to keep it that way. We recommend any natural gas appliance should be installed by a licensed gas contractor and should be serviced annually to minimize any risk of carbon monoxide exposure,” said McMahon.

“Additionally, like smoke detectors in homes, it is also best for customers with natural gas appliances to install carbon monoxide detectors to help keep everyone safe.”

READ MORE: Interior Health issues warning about opioid-laced stimulants causing recent overdoses

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Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
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