About a week ago, a Center City, Philadelphia restaurant was evacuated due to high levels of carbon monoxide. It’s unclear if anyone received treatment for carbon monoxide poisoning. The incident occurred on May 24 in the city’s Chinatown area. The restaurant is located at 9th and Race Street, near the Pennsylvania Convention Center. One online news report cited city officials who indicated an issue with the underground transformer of a local utility company (PECO). Source: 6abc.com, Carbon Monoxide Forces Evacuation of Center City Restaurant.
About Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Carbon monoxide poisoning is dangerous because carbon monoxide is odorless, colorless and tasteless. In addition, exposure can result in long-term, permanent symptoms like brain damage. Deaths are also common, especially in situations when the exposure occurs when sleeping. In fact, there have been a slew of cases in which occupants of a hotel room died due to carbon monoxide exposure at night.
Carbon Monoxide in Restaurants & Commercial Buildings
Carbon monoxide poisonings are very common and occur in all types of commercial buildings. Last year, 30 people were sickened and a restaurant manager died at a restaurant in Long Island, New York due to carbon monoxide poisoning. The carbon monoxide leaked from a faulty water heater pipe. More: Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Accident in NY, Restaurant Manager Dies; Others Hospitalized
Since this incident, the New York legislature passed a law requiring carbon monoxide detectors in restaurants and commercial buildings, beginning next year in 2016.
Carbon monoxide poisoning can and does occur at restaurants, hotels, etc. The reality is that carbon monoxide is a serious risk wherever fossil fuel burning heaters or appliances are used. Improper ventilation is one of the most critical factors in carbon monoxide poisonings. Failure to properly service heaters or other large appliances is one of the most common causes of carbon monoxide poisoning injuries.
Pennsylvania hasn’t quite caught up. Under the 2013 Carbon Monoxide Alarm Standard Act, carbon monoxide detectors are only required in certain residential buildings, such as apartment buildings. Local government agencies such as county and city governments may have their own ordinances requiring carbon monoxide detectors. For instance, a local ordinance may require that certain commercial buildings install carbon monoxide detectors. However, such local ordinances, if they exist at all, will vary from city to city or county to county. The lack of uniformity in regulation increases the risk of carbon monoxide poisonings in commercial buildings.
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