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Carbon monoxide leak at ECOLE sustainable housing project spurs implementation of new safety measures

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A student was hospitalized following a carbon monoxide leak detected Nov. 23 in the ECOLE sustainable housing project, which was launched earlier this semester. The ECOLE project house, located on 3559 University Street, is leased to ECOLE by McGill Student Housing and Hospitality Services (SHHS).

Kareem Ibrahim, a member of the ECOLE board of directors, explained that residents had experienced symptoms of carbon monoxide exposure prior to the leak’s detection.

“One of the facilitators had the initiative to ask for carbon monoxide detectors in some of the rooms because people were feeling a bit lightheaded,” Ibrahim said. “It turns out there was a leak.”

Managing Director (Residence Life and Customer Relations) Janice Johnson of SHHS explained that after receiving notification of the leak, SHHS facilities followed the appropriate procedures to fix it.

“There was a problem with the furnace [in the ECOLE house] that resulted in a carbon monoxide leak in the house,” Johnson said. “So we had to turn off the furnace and get that fixed [….] It [took] about 36 hours to get it completely fixed.”

Ibrahim and Johnson confirmed that one student was sent to the hospital, but that the student is recovering well.

“[The person] is doing great,” Ibrahim said. “It was a brief scare.”

Johnson said that other student residences have tested negative for carbon monoxide. According to Johnson, SHHS will be taking proactive measures to prevent future scares.

“Even though it’s not required by code, we have now put in local carbon monoxide detectors,” she said. “We are now looking into how we can have the detectors centrally monitored.”

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