Carbon monoxide scare caused by carpet cleaning, Madison Fire says

August 17, 2018

Carbon monoxide alarms going off at a West Side apartment building brought firefighters to the scene Tuesday night, with the elevated readings attributed to carpet cleaning in several unoccupied apartments.

The Madison Fire Department had to go twice to a second-floor unit of the apartment building at 2308 University Ave., first at about 9:45 p.m. and the second time about two hours later.

“A maintenance worker on site said carpet cleaners were working in the building all day, and their trucks were running outside,” said spokeswoman Cynthia Schuster.

Firefighter air monitors showed carbon monoxide levels at about 58 parts per million in the second-floor apartment the first time at the scene, with carbon monoxide levels ranging from 20 to 90 ppm on the other three floors.

Two hours later, firefighters returned to the apartment building when carbon monoxide levels were back up to 50 ppm in the same second-story apartment, after the building had been ventilated and the carbon monoxide had dissipated.

“The carpet cleaner vehicles were long gone, so it was believed the CO was caused by the off-gassing of the carpet cleaning solution used in the apartments,” Schuster said.

The building was ventilated once again and property managers were advised to open other windows in the building at apartments where the carpets had been cleaned.

“The apartments were being prepared for new tenants and were unoccupied at the time of these incidents,” Schuster said.

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