‘Ottawa’ Carbon Monoxide Scare Prompts Rideau Centre Evacuation
A portion of the Rideau Centre was evacuated briefly Friday afternoon after a carbon monoxide detector in one of the stores sounded a warning of high levels of the potentially deadly gas.
Firefighters were called to the mall just after noon and confirmed elevated carbon monoxide levels of between 30 and 50 parts per million. While firefighters, police, paramedics and mall security evacuated the first floor, firefighters used fans to ventilate the affected area. The department’s Hazmat team monitored air quality throughout the mall and carbon monoxide levels soon returned to normal.
The source was found to be a piece of equipment used by a contractor renovating one of the stores, the fire department said.
The emergency was declared over by about 1:30 p.m. There were no injuries.
Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless gas that can be toxic and even fatal. Health Canada guidelines say the maximum safe exposure to CO in a residence is one hour at levels of 25 parts per million. Mild CO poisoning produces flu-like symptoms while higher exposures can lead to unconsciousness and death.