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April 27, 2014

Ole Miss considers carbon monoxide monitors


OXFORD, Miss. (AP) — The University of Mississippi will consider installing carbon monoxide monitors in dormitories after a student's monitor detected high levels of the harmful gas, the school's spokesman says.

Firefighters evacuated dozens of students from a women's dorm, Hefley Hall, for about an hour Thursday. No one was injured.

The Clarion-Ledger ( ) reports that a parent of a dorm resident called campus authorities after the student's carbon monoxide detector sounded.

"If she had not had it, it could have been bad, especially overnight when people are sleeping," said Oxford Fire Chief Cary Sallis.

Campus housing workers checked carbon monoxide levels in the dorm before calling the Oxford Fire Department. Sallis said the source of the carbon monoxide was a malfunctioning boiler.

Carbon monoxide is an odorless gas produced by combustible engines, appliances and heating systems, and is poisonous to humans.

It's unclear how long the gas had been leaking at Hefley before the detector caught it, but freshman Kenya Wheeler said she started feeling dizzy minutes after entering her room. Along with headaches, dizziness is one of the first symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Wheeler said she saw firefighters walking from room to room with hand-held devices that emit beeps before finally ordering the evacuation, but she didn't learn the reason until later she was already safely out of her room.

University spokesman Danny Blanton said the dorm's carbon monoxide level was high but not dangerous. He said the university will consider installing monitors.

The International Building Code of 2012 requires carbon monoxide monitors for newly constructed residential facilities but not for older structures.


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