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Cops: 5 exposed to CO at West Babylon ShopRite taken to hospital

The West Babylon Fire Department and ambulances from

The West Babylon Fire Department and ambulances from several departments respond to the ShopRite on Route 109 on Thursday, June 23, 2016. Photo Credit: Paul Mazza

Scores of people were hustled out of a West Babylon supermarket Thursday and five went to the hospital after a paramedic’s carbon monoxide detector beeped when he walked in, authorities said.

The ShopRite on Route 109 was evacuated shortly after 10:15 a.m. when West Babylon fire officials found levels of the odorless and colorless gas at 40 parts per million, just above the 35 ppm mark that sets off their detectors’ warnings.

But readings were much higher at the bakery, where a faulty oven had been leaking carbon monoxide, and from there, the air-conditioning and ventilation systems spread the gas, West Babylon Fire Chief Christine Manzi said.

“It was kind of able to make its way throughout the entire store,” she said.

The poisonous gas was detected when one of the department’s paramedics arrived to treat a sick woman, whose dizziness was unrelated to the leak, according to Suffolk police and fire officials.

Stephen Juliano, 27, said the carbon monoxide monitor he wears regularly on his belt went off not long after he stepped inside: “It’s a persistent, beeping noise.”

He said he reported it to the firehouse and got the sick woman on her way to a hospital while fire officials assessed the situation.

There was no panic among the 75 or so evacuees, the paramedic said. “People were just surprised,” he said. “Everyone cooperated . . . pretty well.”

Ambulances also came in from Lindenhurst, North Lindenhurst, North Babylon, North Amityville and Wyandanch-Wheatley Heights to help examine 36 people at the scene, but no one reported serious symptoms, Manzi said. The five taken to the hospital as a precaution were released, authorities said.

ShopRite spokeswoman Karen O’Shea said the oven was taken out of service and contractors were inspecting it to determine why it leaked.

“The store was completely vented and inspected before being cleared by fire department officials to reopen this afternoon, at around 1:30 p.m.,” she said.

The store’s owner has been in the process of installing a storewide carbon monoxide detection system, in time for a new statewide law that requires retail establishments to have them by the end of the month, O’Shea said.

Juliano has his share of sad stories, but not this time. Said the paramedic, “It was a good day.”

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