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.