Fort Bragg officials have warned several dozen families in base housing about a potentially dangerous threat of carbon monoxide poisoning, after one family ended up in the hospital.
The hospitalized family was released Sunday, Aug. 4, from Womack Army Medical Center after exhibiting “symptoms that corresponded with carbon monoxide poisoning,” Fort Bragg officials said in a press release.
An investigation conducted in the past week found a potential threat in as many as 174 housing units in one neighborhood, officials said.
Carbon monoxide “is an odorless, colorless gas that can kill you” when it builds up indoors, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is blamed for more than 400 unintentional poisoning deaths in the country each year and 20,000 emergency room visits, the center says.
Base officials say they first learned of the issue when the gas-sickened family visited the hospital. Then, three days later, a second gas-related report emerged from the same area.
“On Wednesday, Aug. 7, another family living in a Pope neighborhood reported a petroleum odor in their home,” Fort Bragg officials said in the release.
“This home had the same configuration as the other (home)... Eighty-eight homes were identified to have a potential risk of carbon monoxide. All residents have been notified.”
Further study found an additional 86 Fort Bragg homes in the Pope area were also at risk, resulting in door-to-door visits and warning signs posted on doors, officials said in the release. In 19 cases, families did not respond to calls or knocks, prompting first responders to enter the homes to “confirm personnel are safe,” a release said.
Investigators announced Wednesday that they believe the cause was a combination of factors, including partially blocked air intake ducts that allowed carbon monoxide to build to “dangerous” levels when laundry room doors are shut, a release said.
As a result, Fort Bragg officials are taking a somewhat unusual approach to eliminate the issue: The housing contractor, Corvias, will be removing all doors on laundry rooms in at least 88 homes.
Corvias will then “conduct tests of the unoccupied homes to find a quick and permanent solution.”