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32 People Overcome By Carbon Monoxide In Tribeca

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A carbon monoxide leak coupled with a suspicious package scare prompted hundreds to evacuate amid a massive response from the NYPD and FDNY in Tribeca on Tuesday.

The intersection of Murray Street and West Broadway was shut down as dozens of fire crews responded to a call for a carbon monoxide leak in the basement below Amish Market in Tribeca.

Emergency responders immediately began evacuating the building and treating people for exposure on the street.

Store director Mike Jording was inside with more than 30 of his employees.

"When you see three people, four people drip right in front of you, the symptoms are carbon monoxide," he told CBS2's Hazel Sanchez. "I didn't smell nothing, I don't feel nothing. When someone's talking to you and the next minute he's on the floor, I knew I had to get everybody out."

An employee called 911 but with no time to waste, 65-year-old Jording -- who suffers from leukemia -- carried half a dozen workers out of the basement to safety.

Firefighters discovered some market employees passed out on the basement and first floor.

Emergency responders immediately began evacuating the building and treating people for exposure on the street.

"The levels of CO were consistent with them definitely passing out after two or three breaths," FDNY Chief of Department James Leonard said.

"A male worker was opening up the box and about 10 feet away there was a female worker by the bathroom that fainted and he associated her fainting with the opening of that box not knowing that it was actually carbon monoxide," Chief Of Manhattan Detectives William Aubry said.

Firefighters Treat Carbon Monoxide Patients In Tribeca
Emergency responders on the scene of a carbon monoxide incident in Tribeca on June 13, 2017. (credit: Twitter/@gammanielD360)

The NYPD's bomb squad and emergency service units went in and deemed the package was not hazardous.

Aubry said the box contained salad bowls that had been delivered to the location the day before from Brooklyn.

"It was a very systematic, professional operation by both FDNY and NYPD who worked closely together in a very unusual situation to mitigate this problem," Leonard said.

"We couldn't have asked for anything better as far as the response protocol between the different agencies," Aubry said.

The entire building was evacuated as dangerous carbon monoxide levels due to a broken boiler were found in the basement up to the third floor of the 12 story luxury apartment building above the market.

In total, 32 people were sent to the hospital while many more were treated on scene.

Police say witnesses described a woman passing out in the basement after another worker opened a box of salad bowls, causing suspicions of foul play.

Luckily, the box turned out to be harmless. The same couldn't be said for a faulty boiler.

Since city law doesn't require CO detectors in commercial buildings and basements, Amish Market didn't have one. The owner says he feels fortunate no one was seriously hurt. He also has unflattering words for the landlord responsible for maintaining the building and its equipment.

"The systems of the building which have nothing to do with the supermarket and a cracked furnace, probably because of poor maintenance practices," the owner said. "People started dropping like flies."

The Department of Buildings says the building currently has no violations or complaints. They ordered the boilers be shut down until further notice.

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