The clogged ventilation pipe that caused carbon monoxide to leak into a Hempstead Village senior citizen complex has been cleared and all of the residents are home from the hospital, police and fire officials said Sunday.
Four residents of the General Douglas MacArthur Senior Village were treated and released from Nassau University Medical Center after they complained of illness related to the gas exposure Saturday. One resident was admitted to the hospital overnight but was discharged Sunday, a hospital official said.
Authorities cleared the snow and ice that had been clogging the building's furnace exhaust pipe causing carbon monoxide to back up into several units. A resident alerted authorities Saturday morning after alarms went off.
"They were very lucky that someone took the initiative to call us because if it had gone on for any longer there probably would've been a fatality there," Village of Hempstead Fire Chief Karl E. Rugg said.
The complex is operated by the Village of Hempstead Housing Authority. Officials there did not return calls seeking comment Sunday.
The building's management office was closed for the weekend and couldn't be reached.
Housing authority officials, with visiting nurses, checked on each of the 133 residents in the building, Rugg said.
"Everyone responded appropriately,' said Don Ryan, village trustee.
Symptoms of exposure to carbon monoxide are similar to the flu including headaches, drowsiness, dizziness and nausea.
Fire officials said there were readings as high as 170 parts per million inside the building, more than double the amount needed to cause symptoms of poisoning.
John Boyd, 77, said he was among the first of the residents taken to the hospital Saturday.
"My stomach felt bad but I couldn't say whether it was a virus or the carbon monoxide," said Boyd who was sitting with a friend in the building's lobby Sunday.