Carbon Monoxide Fumes Force Evacuation of Daycare Center

oncord Township – Firefighters evacuated 49 children and nine instructors yesterday after life-threatening carbon monoxide fumes filled a day-care center in Concord Township.

The children, ages 6 months to 7 years, and the adults from the Leaping Lizards Learning Center were shuttled by firefighters from 13 communities to Lake West Hospital in Willoughby and Lake East Hospital in Painesville, where they were checked for carbon monoxide poisoning. All were released.

“What a scare,” said parent Michael Kuzeppa of Mentor, whose 18-month-old son, Kyle, and wife, Barbara, a teacher at the center, were treated at Lake East. “When they called me at work, my heart went into my throat.”

Snow and ice had clogged an air-intake pipe to one of the center’s two high-efficiency gas furnaces, causing it to operate improperly and create carbon monoxide, said Concord Township Fire Chief Richard B. Warner.

Compounding the problem was a plastic exhaust pipe that had dislodged under the first floor, which allowed the carbon monoxide fumes that normally would have been vented outside to pour into the building.

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that is the by-product of incomplete combustion, usually from natural gas.

More than a half-dozen children began showing flu-like symptoms, and when three instructors followed with headaches, Administrator Tonia Osborne suspected carbon monoxide poisoning and called 911 at 12:51p.m.

An excerpt from “The Cleveland Plain Dealer” by John C. Kuehner, Roy Gutterman and Jesse Tinsley.

Contact an A-1 Tops Services Technician at713-783-COOL(2665) for more information.