Carbon monoxide leak at Portland food pantry sickens 3

·1 min read

Dec. 29—A carbon monoxide leak, likely from a forklift, sickened three people at the Wayside Food Programs pantry Wednesday afternoon.

Firefighters and emergency medical technicians responded to 135 Walton St. at 1:25 p.m. after multiple food pantry workers reported feeling ill, said Portland Fire Captain John Brennan.

Three people were taken by ambulance to area hospitals with non-life threatening injuries, Brennan said.

Once inside the building, firefighters measured levels of the deadly odorless gas up to about 400 parts per million, Brennan said. By comparison, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration limits exposure to 50 parts per million averaged over 8 hours.

"As soon as we got there we evacuated the space," Brennan said.

The industrial building houses multiple tenants, including a coffee shop, but no other unit showed elevated levels of the gas. Once the forklift was shut down and the area was ventilated, carbon monoxide levels returned to normal, Brennan said.

A code enforcement officer from the city assisted the fire department, which spent about 90 minutes checking the building.

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