Cracked heat exchanger behind CO leak at ByWard Market building: firefighters

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A five-storey Ottawa Community Housing building at 380 Cumberland St. in the ByWard Market was evacuated Saturday afternoon, Nov. 13, 2021, after a cracked heat exchanger was found to be behind
A five-storey Ottawa Community Housing building at 380 Cumberland St. in the ByWard Market was evacuated Saturday afternoon, Nov. 13, 2021, after a cracked heat exchanger was found to be behind

Firefighters say a cracked heat exchanger was behind "extremely high" levels of carbon monoxide inside a downtown Ottawa Community Housing building.

Residents of the five-storey downtown apartment building on Cumberland Street in the ByWard Market were evacuated after firefighters were called to the building for reports of a gasoline smell around 3:45 p.m. Saturday.

When firefighters arrived, they found elevated levels of carbon monoxide throughout the hallways of each of the building's five floors, Ottawa Fire Services (OFS) wrote in a release.

Approximately 60 residents throughout the building were evacuated and firefighters had to help some with mobility issues. An OC Transpo bus was on scene to help keep residents warm.

Firefighters found a cracked heat exchanger on an air unit on the roof was behind the leak, OFS said. Both air units were shut down and Enbridge gas was called in to make repairs.

By Saturday evening, firefighters had ventilated the building. There were no reported injuries, OFS said.

In a statement, Ottawa Community Housing said the safety of tenants is its top priority.

"Our team worked in collaboration with our partners at Ottawa Fire Services and Enbridge to take the necessary precautions in response to the situation on Cumberland Street," a spokesperson said by email. "We also thank Options Bytown for their support. Tenants have now safely returned to their homes."

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