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Carbon monoxide sickens 3 at Fairbanks nonprofit

Faulty boiler at Love INC building to blame

Posted: January 1, 2014 - 1:00am

FAIRBANKS — Three people have been released from a hospital after suffering carbon monoxide poisoning blamed on a faulty boiler at a Fairbanks nonprofit organization.

The trio were hospitalized after becoming ill Friday at the Love INC building. All have been discharged from Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported Tuesday.

Those sickened were the organization’s executive director, Debbie Cloninger; clearinghouse director, Tina Basile; and an employee’s 12-year-old son.

The organization, which functions as a clearinghouse for local charities, will be closed until a new boiler is installed early next week.

Cloninger said she and Basile began feeling ill around 4 p.m. Friday. The boy was also feeling ill, and he eventually passed out.

Cloninger said they left the building after calling 911.

“It was very scary,” she said. “We pretty much knew something was happening then.”

Cloninger and Basile were treated at the hospital and released. The boy was hospitalized overnight for observation and released the next day.

When authorities arrived at the organization’s building, carbon monoxide readings were at more than 200 parts per million, according to Ernie Misewicz, assistant Fairbanks fire chief. Misewicz said readings of 35 ppm are enough to trigger a warning from a carbon monoxide detector.

The building was ventilated, and the boiler was determined to be the source of the colorless, odorless gas that can cause sudden illness or death.

Love INC did not have a carbon monoxide detector in the building at the time, Misewicz said. Detectors are required in buildings only where motor vehicles are present or where people sleep overnight.

The installation of a new $8,000 boiler had previously been planned, Cloninger said. Carbon monoxide detectors have also been put in place and a forced-air heater has been installed to keep the building warm.

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