Several residents of an apartment building located near Graves Park in Norcross were treated for carbon monoxide poisoning on Tuesday after a gas-powered generator was used to restore power to their building following an overnight outage.
Gwinnett Fire Capt. Brian Gaeth said crews were called to the Vita Apartments, which is located at 1355 Graves Road, and found several patients were reporting symptoms that were consistent with carbon monoxide poisoning. Additional fire units were called in to provide assistance and treat residents of the apartment complex. The affected building consisted of four apartment units.
“Residents of one of the apartment units reported that the power had gone out overnight and it was soon discovered that a gas-powered generator had been utilized to provide temporary power to that unit,” Gaeth said. “A total of 27 patients were evaluated for varying degrees of illness and 8 patients with reported non-life-threatening illness were transported to local hospitals, most of which are pediatric patients.”
Crews who responded to the apartment complex used carbon monoxide meters to check the carbon monoxide levels in the building and then ventilated the building to make sure the air was safe before residents were given the green light to begin going back into their apartments.
Gaeth said the incident was an example of the dangers that can arise from using gas-powered generators and the need for practice caution when using them.
“Firefighters would like to remind citizens that while gas-powered generators are a useful tool during an extended power outage, their use can lead to a dangerous carbon monoxide hazard if not used properly,” he said. “Remember to run them outside and at least 20 feet away from windows, doors, or vents. Carbon Monoxide alarms should be installed on every level of the home and outside each sleeping area.”