At least two dozen people had to be hospitalized for possible carbon monoxide poisoning after they were evacuated from a church in Manhattan. According to a WABC report, firefighters responded to Saint Malachy’s Church on West 49th Street in Midtown the morning of July 16 for reported elevated gas levels. Officials said the elevated levels of carbon monoxide were first detected in the basement of the church where Encore Community Services, a nonprofit, offers meals and other assistance to the elderly.
A number of the seniors reported not feeling well and several staff members lost consciousness and became verbally unresponsive. Twenty-four people were taken to the hospital and one other person was treated at the scene for serious but non-life-threatening injuries. The fire department remained at the scene until the carbon monoxide levels dropped. FDNY is still investigating the cause of the elevated carbon monoxide levels. But preliminary investigations show that the elevated levels were the result of a malfunctioning motor from the stove ventilation hood inside the church’s community room.
Why is Carbon Monoxide Dangerous?
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas produced by burning gasoline, wood, propane, charcoal or other fuel. It may be emitted from improperly ventilated appliances, particularly in an enclosed space. The levels of gas may then accumulate to dangerous levels. Some of the common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include a dull headache, weakness, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, confusion, blurred vision and loss consciousness.
Carbon monoxide poisoning occurs when dangerous levels of the gas build up in the victim’s bloodstream. According to the Mayo Clinic, when there is an excess amount of carbon monoxide levels present in the air, your body replaces the oxygen in your red blood cells with carbon monoxide. This may lead to serious tissue damage or even death. People may suffer irreversible brain damage or even die as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning, which is why emergency medical attention is required as soon as symptoms surface.
There is a higher risk of severe exposure for young children, older adults and those with a history of anemia, breathing problems and with chronic heart disease. Loss of consciousness typically indicates more severe exposure. Also, exposure to moderate and high levels of carbon monoxide over long periods of time has also been linked with increased risk of heart disease. People who survive severe carbon monoxide poisoning may suffer long-term health problems as well.
Laws, Responsibilities and Liability
New York City laws require property owners and/or managers to provide and install at least one approved carbon monoxide alarm within each dwelling unit. These alarms must be installed within 15 feet of the primary entrance to each sleeping room. Property owners and managers also have a responsibility to make sure that these carbon monoxide alarms are working properly.
If you have suffered carbon monoxide poisoning as a result of equipment or appliances that have been improperly maintained by the landlord, or because you don’t have working carbon monoxide detectors in your unit, you may be able to seek compensation for the damages and losses sustained.
In cases where the lack of working carbon monoxide detectors contributes to serious injuries, injured victims or families of deceased victims can file a premises liability claim against several parties including, but not limited to, the landlord, property owner, property manager, etc. Property owners and/or property managers are responsible for maintaining their properties and ensuring that they are safe for tenants, visitors and guests.
Contacting an Experienced Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of carbon monoxide exposure or as the result of a fire, the experienced New York personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Wilhelm can help you better understand your legal rights and options, and also fight hard to recover just compensation for you. Our firm obtained a $985,000 settlement out of a $1 million policy for two people who suffered smoke inhalation injuries because the homeowner did not have smoke detectors installed and the $15,000 was left for a person that we did not represent. One of our clients recovered $2,500,000 due to a faulty space heater. Also, one of our clients obtained a verdict for $43,940,000 and another of our clients got a verdict for $23,500,000, both in medical malpractice cases.
Please contact us TOLL FREE 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-WORK-4-YOU (1-800-967-5496). WE CAN EVEN COME TO YOU. There is no attorneys’ fee unless we recover money for you. We can also help with personal injury and medical malpractice cases in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, or Florida. If you have been seriously injured in any of the 50 U.S. states, please call us and we will try to help you with your case.
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1-800-RADIO-LAW, 1-888-WYPADEK, OR 1-800-LAS-LEYES
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