Carbon monoxide forces evacuation of Langford City Hall

Much of Langford City Hall was evacuated Thursday morning after carbon monoxide emitted by the building’s natural-gas furnace was detected indoors.

City hall staff noticed an unusual smell about 8:30 a.m., said Lance Caven, assistant chief of fire protection for Langford Fire Department.

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Firefighters arrived with hand-held detection devices that sounded the alarm indoors and showed high carbon monoxide levels on the second floor, he said. FortisBC and a natural gas service company attended.

Caven said a furnace on the main floor wasn’t operating properly and was pumping carbon monoxide into the ventilation system.

The furnace was shut off and firefighters used fans and opened windows to clear the carbon monoxide from the building.

“We were able to get the readings back down to zero and everyone was safe to go back in.”

Carbon monoxide is “very dangerous,” he said. “They call it the silent killer because it is odourless, tasteless and obviously you can’t see it.”

The smell inside the three-storey building resulted from incomplete combustion in the furnace, he said. As a result, carbon monoxide was mainly pushed into the second floor of the building, which was being heated.

Between 30 and 50 people temporarily left the three-storey building at 877 Goldstream Ave., said Caven, adding the main floor was largely unaffected. Staff had returned to the building by noon.

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