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11 hospitalized due to carbon monoxide leak at Newark apartment building

11 injured in carbon monoxide incident in Newark
11 injured in carbon monoxide incident in Newark 01:59

NEWARK, N.J. -- Nearly a dozen residents of a Newark Housing Authority complex are recovering after a carbon monoxide exposure.

It's an odorless, colorless gas that can kill you, but thankfully everyone was safe Saturday night.

CBS2's Thalia Perez spoke to residents.

Sylvia Brooks said she is relieved to be home in her second-floor apartment at 58 Evergreen Lane, hours after a carbon monoxide scare sickened neighbors and forced everyone out of the high-rise building.

"The first thing, 3 o'clock this morning it went back off and you couldn't turn if off and they came about 5:30," Brooks said.

Brooks said when first responders arrived they began evacuating everyone.

"A couple of them they had to put on a stretcher, take them to the ambulance. Most of us in here got some age on us," Brooks said.

Officials say several tenants were found passed out and it was determined that carbon monoxide was being emitted from a furnace in the building.

"We haven't had an incident of this sort at any of our properties at least 10 years that we know of. These things tend to happen, especially at the beginning of the heating season," said Victor Cirilo, executive director Newark Housing Authority.

Residents patiently waited outside for several hours. Some sought refuge on a NJ Transit bus.

Ricky Goorbarry's mom lives on the 10th floor.

"She's a little bit older so she doesn't understand a lot that's going on, but she was like let's just go somewhere and get her out of here and get her mind off of this," Goorbarry said.

According to the CDC, approximately 50,000 people visit the emergency room annually due to accidental carbon monoxide poisoning. They recommend:

  • Checking or changing the batteries in your carbon monoxide detector every six months
  • Having your heating and water systems checked by a qualified technician each year
  • Keeping vents and flues free of debris

Police said a total of 11 residents were rushed to area hospitals and are recovering in stable condition.

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