Power Washers Used Inside Parking Garage Prompts Evacuation Of Apartment Complex

Incident Type
Carbon Monoxide
Monday, July 8, 2019 - 12:07pm
Monday, July 8, 2019 - 12:23pm
600 Block N. Pleasant View Road
Madison, WI

A Pleasant View Road apartment complex was fully evacuated Monday afternoon following a significant carbon monoxide incident. Thanks to the building’s alarm system and prompt identification of the problem by Madison firefighters, nobody became fell ill.

Engine Company 12 was initially dispatched to 653 N. Pleasant View Road for a smoke detector activation. Several occupants had already evacuated prior to firefighters’ arrival, and the alarm panel inside the building indicated there was a problem in the underground parking garage. Upon reaching the garage, Engine 12 found two people using gas-powered pressure washers to clean the underground parking floors. Firefighters were immediately suspicious of carbon monoxide gas as a result of exhaust from the gas-powered units used in a confined space.

After donning their self-contained breathing apparatuses, firefighters began assessing the atmosphere. Carbon monoxide readings clocked in at about 400 parts per million in the underground parking garage with similar readings in other parts of the basement. Carbon monoxide levels on the first and second floors of the living space were initially low but gradually began to increase.

Ladder Company 2 was called in to help ventilate the building, and Engine Company 7 assisted in clearing all people and pets from the building. Several pet owners were not at home at the time of the incident, so resident bystanders kept watch over the animals outside, and Animal Resource Officers were called in for additional assistance as firefighters continued to move fresh air into the building. No pets appeared to be ill or symptomatic as a result of the exposure to carbon monoxide. Responders notified as many owners as possible that their pets were being cared for at this time. The people who were using the power washers were routinely assessed by EMTs for signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide exposure, but neither showed any signs of illness or need for emergency medical care.

After a lengthy period, carbon monoxide values in the garage reduced to 0 parts per million. MFD also entered each unit with an air monitor and confirmed that the apartments were safe to occupy.

Firefighters and Animal Resource Officers returned the pets to their homes. With the building ventilated to a safe atmosphere, MFD cleared the building at 2:23 p.m.

Posted 07/09/2019 - 12:49pm

Cynthia Schuster (Public Information Officer)