April 26, 2017

Toys ‘R’ Us reopens after carbon monoxide incident

By Stephanie Choate

Observer staff

Toys ‘R’ Us in Williston is open after high carbon monoxide levels prompted an evacuation of approximately 75 shoppers and employees.

Toys ‘R’ Us called the Williston Fire Department at 10:22 Thursday morning, said Williston Fire Chief Ken Morton, with concerns about an odor in the building.

“We got there three minutes later, and clearly something was wrong,” he said.

Firefighters set off the fire alarm, evacuating the building. They tested the atmosphere and found carbon monoxide levels at 120 parts per million. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the eight-hour exposure limit is 35 ppm and the five-minute exposure limit is 200 ppm.

“The mere fact that it was 120 was of great concern,” Morton said.

Two staff members were transported to the hospital with complaints of illness.

Firefighters ventilated the building, with the help of Vermont Gas. Within two hours, Morton said, the carbon monoxide levels went down to zero, and the store reopened.

Morton said the source of the carbon monoxide was a floor treatment unit that had not been properly modified for indoor use. Fire officials instructed the store’s owner to fix it.


  1. youngvt says:

    I am writing in response to Mr. Hoxworth’s article on transportation costs for the poor in Vermont. I would like to suggest further research on this topic before we simply just give another handout or tax credit. The poor, may, have a higher disproportionate burden on their transportation costs than the wealthier residents of Vermont; however, they also have a lower disproportionate burden on taxes and housing. Pick your evil.
    We can simply just give every poor Vermonter an energy efficient car, gas card, free tuition, renter’s rebate, etc.…but the only way out of poverty is through the combination of education, hard work, and discipline. Education and degrees are not handed out or purchased; a person has to EARN them. This seems to be the only way out of poverty—sorry, there are no shortcuts.
    If we continue this trend of enabling, our entire state will be a welfare state.

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