Two women are dead after a West Roger Park building had a carbon monoxide leak. The Chicago Tribune reports that it took officials several hours to determine that a leak existed in the building and it is unclear how many people were exposed to the noxious fumes during that time period or whether these wrongful deaths could have been prevented.
Emergency crews were first called to the West North Shore Avenue building around 10:30 a.m. on Sunday with reports of a woman in cardiac arrest. As paramedics rushed the woman to Swedish Covenant Hospital, they were notified that a second woman was in cardiac arrest. The second victim made fire officials inspect the building for a CO leak, but nothing was found.
A third woman was found nonresponsive shortly before 4 p.m. the same day. She was rushed to the hospital in critical condition and authorities did a more thorough inspection of the building to determine what was wrong. Although no high levels of CO were detected in the women’s apartments, a low level of carbon monoxide was found near a boiler in the building’s basement.
The Chicago Tribune reports that the women were likely exposed to low levels of carbon monoxide over long periods of time. The CO came from a leak the building’s exhaust system.
The boiler room’s carbon monoxide detector had not gone off and there were no other working detectors in the four-flat building despite building code requirements for detectors to be on every floor.
A Pakistani-American family owned the building and lived in all four flats. The deceased women slept in bedrooms that were directly over the boiler on the first and second floors.
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