Carbon Monoxide Leak At Charleston’s Restaurant Fixed

Wednesday, December 10th 2008, 1:37 pm
By: News On 6

By Chris Wright, News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Several employees at a Brookside restaurant were sickened Tuesday night by a carbon monoxide leak. Charleston's at 3726 South Peoria was evacuated, and no one was seriously injured.

Officials say the incident should serve as reality check for businesses and homeowners.

After complaining of feeling ill, officials say four employees were sent home from Charleston's Tuesday evening.

When more complained they weren't feeling well, the restaurant called the fire department.

TFD evacuated the restaurant, and then discovered high levels of carbon monoxide inside.

"We evacuated the restaurant, and proceeded to find out exactly where it was coming from," said Captain Tim Smallwood.

Captain Smallwood says the leak was coming from a recently repaired hot water heater. He says firefighters found CO levels of 25 hundred parts per million. Normal levels are 50 or lower.

"It was pretty high, high enough to get you sick," said Captain Smallwood.

Management at Charleston's declined to comment about the leak, but the fire department says they handled the situation correctly.

TFD says carbon monoxide leaks, like the one that happened at Charleston's are actually pretty common, especially this time of year when people are trying to get their hot water heaters fixed.

"It's called the silent killer.  You can't smell it, you can't see it, you don't taste it," said Assistant Fire Marshall Ray Evins.

Evins says a carbon monoxide leak usually causes sudden, flu-like symptoms. If you suspect CO, he says it's important to evacuate, but not ventilate, the area.

"If it's already ventilated when we get there, we may not find the source," said Evins.

An even better way to prevent leaks like the one at Charleston's, contends the fire department, is a carbon monoxide detector.

"They do save lives. Just like smoke detectors, CO detectors will save your life," said Captain Smallwood.

TFD says there were about 30 people eating at Charleston's when the CO leak was discovered. None of them reported feeling ill.

The restaurant was open for business again on Wednesday.