WINNIPEG -- One person was taken to hospital in unstable condition on Sunday morning after Winnipeg fire crews found high levels of carbon monoxide in a townhouse in the city’s Westwood area.

Firefighters responded to the incident at around 5:40 a.m., following reports a carbon monoxide alarm was activated at a townhouse suite in the 300 block of Westwood Drive.

Once crews got to the scene, they used a detector inside the suite and found carbon monoxide, with readings between 100 to 120 parts per million (ppm). Crews also went into the neighbouring suites and found they all had carbon monoxide, with one suite reading up to 1,000 ppm.

Firefighters searched the suite with the 1000 ppm reading and found an unresponsive person. Paramedics treated this person, who was taken to the hospital in unstable condition.

According to the City of Winnipeg, a vehicle left running for an undetermined amount of time in an attached garage caused the carbon monoxide build-up. It said the poisonous gas then entered the nearby suites, which fire crews have ventilated.

Firefighters are warning people that carbon monoxide, a colourless, odourless, tasteless gas produced by combustion, is dangerous. Those experiencing carbon monoxide poisoning will have flu-like symptoms, including nausea, dizziness, confusion, vision and hearing loss, but not a fever.

The city encourages Winnipeggers to install a carbon monoxide alarm on every floor of their home, and offers the following tips to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning:

  • Do not idle vehicles in an attached garage, even if the door is open;
  • Have all fuel-burning appliances cleaned and checked every year by a qualified technician;
  • Make sure all fresh air intake vents, exhaust vents, and chimneys are clear of snow, insulation, leaves, bird nests, lint, or debris;
  • Make sure wood stoves are properly installed and vented; and
  • Don’t operate gas-powered engines, charcoal or propane barbecues or grills, kerosene stoves, or propane heaters indoors or in an enclosed space.

If anyone suspects carbon monoxide in their home, they should leave immediately and call 911.