Carbon monoxide exposure at Olathe shopping center sends three people to hospital

OLATHE, Kan. -- Three people were taken to the hospital Thursday after being exposed to carbon monoxide.

A gas-powered generator is to blame for carbon monoxide seeping into four Olathe businesses on the north end of the Santa Fe Shopping Center on Thursday afternoon.

"The generator was emitting carbon monoxide, which is a poisonous gas and some folks were exposed to it," Olathe Fire Capt. Mike Hall said.

Hall said a construction crew had been running the generator as they worked inside one of the businesses that’s not yet occupied.

Fire crews were called to the shopping center around 3:30 p.m. to check it out.

"We got here and started taking care of the patients along with Johnson Co. Med Act, and we started monitoring the atmosphere to know where the monoxide was at and then to get rid of it," he said.

Three people were taken to the hospital for exposure to the gas, which can cause symptoms like dizziness, headaches and blurred vision.

"Carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas, and basically your body picks it up and depletes your oxygen," Hall said.

Firefighters used high-volume electric fans to clear the air in the businesses and checked that the air quality was safe before letting people back in.

The takeway?

"Whenever you use a gas-powered generator, make sure you use it outside and away from the structure," Hall said.

Firefighters said it’s also a good idea to install carbon monoxide detectors in both your home and business.

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