High carbon monoxide levels found in church with daycare school


INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — No one was hurt, but a church with a daycare school was closed for the day after carbon monoxide was recorded Monday morning at high levels, Indianapolis Fire Department said.

Citizens Energy was called to Purpose of Life Church and Daycare about 10:20 a.m. on reports of a smell from an unknown source. Citizens Energy workers found high levels of carbon monoxide in the building. The highest levels were on the second floor of the building at 3705 Kessler Blvd., which is west of Allisonville Road.

According to Indianapolis Fire Department Public Information Officer Rita Reith, there was so much carbon monoxide that, while it is usually odorless, the daycare employees could smell it.

Firefighters were called about 11:30 a.m. and set up ventilation throughout the building. The daycare had 78 students ages 6 weeks to 6 years.

At Purpose of Life, buses were filled with kids, but the wheels weren’t turning. However, inside the bus was a better place for them to be than inside the building.

“We were just informed that there was an emergency gas leak and that they had evacuated the building,” said Jennifer Scott, a parent to two children at the school on Monday.

From the building, kids were loaded into buses until their parents could pick them up. Scott said she came as quickly as she could to pick up her two sons.

“It’s always a little nerve-wracking when you leave your kids with someone else. But when you get something like that, it kind of makes your stomach hurt, almost, to make sure they’re OK,” said Scott.

And they were OK, all 78 of them released to their parents. According to Reith, the carbon monoxide levels were 10 times more that what would prompt an evacuation.

“They felt it. They smelled it. They felt it in their eyes. So, they knew something was going on. That’s when they said everyone has got to get out of the building,” said Reith.

Emergency crews shut off the utilities and opened the doors to air out the building. Officials believe there was a malfunction in the heater. They’re not sure how long the kids were exposed to the poisonous gas.

“Very fortunate that none of the kids showed any sign or symptoms of any kind of carbon monoxide effects,” said Reith.

Parents told 24-Hour News 8 they felt fortunate they were alerted and could pick up their kids.

“It’s great. That’s what every parent, when they drop their kids off, that’s what you’re always looking for,” said Scott.

Purpose of Life closed for the day.

The church called a heating and cooling company to check for leaks. Citizens Energy found no leaks in the gas furnace system.

The building had no working carbon monoxide detectors, the fire department said.

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