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Exhaust from leaf blowers triggered evacuation of 150 from Eugene apartments

A resident of 1331 Patterson St. phoned in a possible gas leak after smelling the exhaust, Battalion Chief Lance Lighty said. (SBG)

EUGENE, Ore. - The exhaust from leaf blowers triggered the evacuation of 150 people from an apartment building Sunday.

A resident of 1331 Patterson St. phoned in a possible gas leak after smelling the exhaust, Battalion Chief Lance Lighty said.

Firefighters tested the air and found high levels of carbon monoxide.

The source turned out to be the exhaust from gasoline-powered leaf blowers being used in the parking structure below the apartment complex.

Lighty said the exhaust might have entered the building via the heating system or elevator shaft.

Exposure to carbon monoxide can be dangerous.

“Symptoms of CO are generally flu like in nature," said Merrill Harrison, Eugene-Springfield Deputy Fire Marshal Merrill Harrison. "You'll have nausea, dizziness, confusion.”

You can detect exposure by making sure you can a function cardon monoxide detector in your home.

“A CO detector is a small investment to put in place for a protection of that magnitude,” Harrison said.

The state maintains a website for more information on carbon monoxide and and carbon monixide alarms.

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