Utility Issue Leads to CO Exposure

Wednesday, December 23, 2015 @ 10:12 AM gHale

Liberty Utilities customers in Keene, NH, suffered from the possibility of elevated carbon monoxide levels in their homes Saturday after an issue at a plant in the city.

The State Emergency Operations Center ended up activated due to the situation in Keene.

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Five people ended up in local hospitals with symptoms of carbon monoxide exposure.

Officials said no leak occurred, but a mixture of gases distributed by the utility company led to increased levels of carbon monoxide in some cases.

Liberty Utilities officials said the issue arose around 9 a.m. after the company’s propane production plant experienced an issue that affected the propane/air mixture flowing into the distribution system. Officials said the change in gas mixture may have resulted in the production of carbon monoxide at the gas appliance or burner tip in a home or business.

“At some point, the blower that puts that air into that mixture tripped and was no longer putting air into the mixture, so we were just having propane into the mixture,” said Michael Lacotta of Liberty Utilities.

The plant’s safety system detected the change in the mixture, which led to the notifications of company officials and emergency workers.

At the time, officials urged residents serviced by Liberty Utilities and are within a two-mile radius of Main Street to open their windows and check on their neighbors.