Carbon Monoxide Kills 1, Leaves 6 Hospitalized

Six people have been hospitalized and one person died due to carbon monoxide poisoning yesterday in Redstone Apartments, an apartment complex next to UVM’s Redstone campus and a home to many students.

It appears as though carbon monoxide leaked into several rooms in building number three of Redstone Apartments due to a problem with the heating system. Approximately 200 people live in the 11 buildings that make up Redstone Apartments, and most of them are students.

A few of those hospitalized were students, but the UVM administration is not currently releasing information on exactly how many of those harmed were enrolled in UVM. All victims were initially taken to Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington but later were transferred to hospitals in Montreal, Boston and Syracuse, N.Y., for treatment in hyperbaric oxygen. Two of them were in critical condition Sunday night, while the other four are stable.

Those who were hurt, but not to the extent that they required hospitalization, have been treated and released, including a police officer who responded to the emergency. Residents who were unharmed have been evacuated to the Sheridan Hotel for at least 24 hours, or until the problem is found and fixed.

Carol Ann McNamara, a student living in Redstone Apartments, says that she was out skiing during the day, and came back around 5pm to find her home surrounded by police officers. An officer in front of her building asked her for contact information, and let her in the building to get her things. She does not live in building number three.

According to McNamara, the two people in critical condition are students, who lived in the rooms most affected, and the fatality was a friend of theirs who was visiting, and was not a student or resident.

Authorities found out about the problem around noon on Sunday, January 30.

Residents were hospitalized, though the source of the problem was not clear. Around 3:00pm, emergency workers and UVM authorities realized that a carbon monoxide leak in the building was the problem, and shortly thereafter they evacuated the building.

Robert Kelly, Associate Dean of Students, reports that the area is being examined extremely closely and the source of the problem will be discovered and corrected before residents are allowed on the premises again.

It is known that it is a case of carbon monoxide poisoning, and it is assumed that it is a result of a problem with the heating system, but they do not know exactly what the problem is, and evacuated residents will not be allowed back until the problem has been discovered and fixed. “This is an ongoing investigation, and our number one concern is the safety of the students and everyone else involved,” says Kelly.

Redstone apartments are not owned by UVM, though the land that they are on is leased to a private company, Novarr-Mackesey of Ithaca, NY, through UVM, and a majority of the residents are students. Though the apartment buildings are next to Redstone dorm complex Wing/Davis/Wilks, there is no danger of the problem being repeated in any of the dorms, says Kelly, as the buildings are unrelated.