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Saskatoon Fire Department responds to serious carbon monoxide incident

For immediate release: January 15, 2021 - 12:25pm

Saskatoon firefighters last night helped avoid a carbon monoxide poisoning that could have resulted in multiple deaths. 

“There’s no doubt, many lives were saved,” says Fire Chief Morgan Hackl. 

At 6:03 p.m. Thursday, January 14, 2021, the Saskatoon Fire Department (SFD) received a call reporting potential carbon monoxide at an apartment building at 12 Bateman Crescent. 

Engine 15 was dispatched for immediate response. Upon arrival, crews used a detector inside the building and confirmed the presence of carbon monoxide with an initial reading of 350 ppm. The main hallway of the basement showed readings of over 200 ppm. Tenants were instructed to evacuate and SFD crews began checking each suite of the building for occupants. Approximately 50 occupants evacuated the building safely. 27 people were transported to hospital and 20 others seeked medical attention. A total of 4 apparatus, one battalion chief and 22 SFD staff were involved at the scene. 

“This was a serious incident that could have turned out very differently” says Fire Chief Morgan Hackl. “The Saskatoon Fire Department urges all residential homes and multi-unit residences to have Carbon Monoxide alarms. They save lives.” 

SaskEnergy was contacted and performed an investigation of the building. The boiler room showed a reading of 412 ppm. Further analysis revealed the boiler had rusted and the exhaust was being pumped into the building. 12 Bateman Crescent remains closed until repairs are completed.  

“The Saskatoon Fire Department and SaskEnergy’s Fire Inspectors are proactively assessing other neighbouring buildings,” says Assistant Chief, Yvonne Raymer.  

20 Bateman Cresent has also been closed due to boiler issues and improper ventilation. Approximately 50 residents have been evacuated from the second apartment building. It is still unknown when residents will be able to return to their suites. The property owner is arranging for hotel rooms for evacuated residents and has secured 30 carbon monoxide alarms to be installed in the common areas and boiler room. 

This event is an important reminder for residents to protect their homes from carbon monoxide poisoning: 

Ensure gas equipment and appliances are properly installed, maintained, and inspected by a licensed contractor, Keep furnace, water heater, chimney vents and pipes free of obstructions, such as leaves, debris or nests and frost, snow, and ice in winter months. Follow manufacturer directions for proper operation and care of all heating equipment and appliances, Only use generators, barbeques and portable propane heaters outside, and Never leave a vehicle or fuelled engine running while indoors.