Carbon monoxide alarms save residents’ lives

(Editor’s note: The following is from the Maple Grove Fire Department)


“The importance of having working carbon monoxide alarms in your home cannot be stressed enough,” said Deputy Fire Marshal Marilyn Arnlund.

A few recent close calls underscore the point all too well.

Recently, the Maple Grove Fire Department (MGFD) responded to a late night call for a carbon monoxide alarm sounding. Upon arrival, it was thought one of the townhome units might have a gas leak. Further investigation determined the leak was carbon monoxide. MGFD began checking neighboring units and found carbon monoxide present in an additional four units. Two of those units had potentially fatal high levels of carbon monoxide present. Fortunately, all of the occupants were evacuated and the homes were ventilated.

If the residents who initially called 911 had not done so, this story could have easily had a fatal ending. It was determined that a neighbor had pulled their vehicle into the garage, shut the door and somehow became distracted and forgot to turn off the vehicle’s engine. This allowed carbon monoxide to build up in the townhome and the seep into the neighboring units where people were already asleep for the night. Another startling discovery was that only two out of the five affected townhomes has carbon monoxide detectors.

MGFD has also received a number of carbon monoxide calls from single-family dwellings. On another late night call it was determined that a vehicle had been left running in a garage. The vehicle ran out of gas. The occupants did have a working carbon monoxide alarm that alerted them to the hazardous situation.

Minnesota law requires every residential dwelling to have carbon monoxide alarms. They should be installed within 10 feet of each room lawfully used for sleeping purposes. If bedrooms are located on separate floors, additional carbon monoxide alarms are necessary within 10 feet of these areas.

If people have questions about carbon monoxide alarms, contact Maple Grove Fire-Rescue at 763-494-6300.