Nine residents who live above a Port Washington restaurant were poisoned by carbon monoxide a few weeks ago after a contractor used a gas-powered pressure washer to clean the equipment in the eatery, fire officials said. The residents included 5 children.
A resident living in one of two apartments above Eastern Strawberry Kitchen, at the corner of Port Washington Boulevard and David Avenue, smelled fumes and called 911 shortly after 8 a.m.
Had the person not smelled the fumes from the power washer, all of the residents could have been killed.
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas produced by burning gas, wood, propane, charcoal or other fuel. Improperly ventilated appliances and engines, particularly in a tightly sealed or enclosed space, may allow carbon monoxide to accumulate to dangerous levels.
When firefighters arrived, they measured the carbon monoxide inside the two-story building, as well as the basement, and found levels as high as 150 to 200 parts per million. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says the permissible exposure limit is 50 parts per million over an eight-hour period.
All nine residents and a Port Washington police officer were taken to Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow. Seven residents had elevated CO levels in their blood, according to Dr. Dean Olsen, attending physician in the emergency department at NUMC. The use of hyperbaric chambers was necessary, they had pure oxygen pumped into their bodies.
Nassau County's assistant chief fire marshal said the building did not have carbon monoxide detectors. Summonses were issued to the landlord, the restaurant owner and the contractor hired to clean the restaurant.
Know the Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
- Sleepiness, and confusion.
If you suspect CO poisoning, get outside to fresh air immediately, and then call 911.
If you became ill from carbon monoxide poisoning and believe it was due to someone else’s negligence, contact us today. We can help. As part of our free consultation, we’ll discuss your case, let you know what you can expect from the legal process and answer all your questions.