Deadly Gas Leak Traced to Improper Venting of On-Demand Hot Water Heater

A high-profile carbon monoxide leak in Calgary, Canada, points out the importance of well-designed vent systems for on-demand units.

The building had been the site of a tragedy just a few days earlier, when a 12-year-old died from carbon monoxide inhalation. Investigators have not officially linked the fatality with the cause of their second call to the site a few days later, but evidence seems to point that way.

Fatality. This 12-year-old boy died a few days earlier from CO exposure in the same building. Photo:

As reported by the Calgary Herald:

Firefighters rushed to an Airdrie apartment complex for the second time in a week to deal with a carbon monoxide leak.

A resident of the large, four-storey complex at 700 Willowbrook Road had a carbon monoxide detector go off in her main-level apartment at 12:14 a.m. Friday and called the fire department from the lobby.

Fire crews found elevated levels of the deadly gas in the immediate area and activated the alarm system to evacuate residents.

Firefighters cut the gas to the apartment, and with the help of ATCO crews, cleared away the carbon monoxide.

“The cause of this incident was the failure of the on-demand water heater to vent properly,” a statement from the Airdrie Fire Department said.

Officials have not yet commented on the exact nature of the venting problem, whether it was obscured by ice or snow, improperly installed, or affected by other factors.

READ THE FULL REPORT from the Calgary Herald.

Video of the intial fatality: