Date: Wed, 15 Aug 2007 07:00:00 -0400
Reply-To: Jay Toigo <ojt3**At_Symbol_Here**VERIZON.NET>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: Jay Toigo <ojt3**At_Symbol_Here**VERIZON.NET>
Subject: Carbon Monoxide Detector

One of my colleagues and I received a call today from one of the fire 
chiefs in our County regarding high carbon monoxide  readings in an 
enclosed space. This unto itself would not be a problem, simply  
ventilating and turning off the CO producing device should suffice to 
eliminate the source. There was no active device to produce the CO, no 
actively running fuel burning device anywhere to be found. Upon further 
inspection, it was observed that the CO reading increased when the 
instrument was near the sump-pump, and that the battery in the back-up 
for the pump was without water and that most of the plate area in the 
lead-acid battery were exposed without electrolyte. A small amount of 
heat was observed, but the battery was not on fire. The CO readings 
dropped in the space once the battery unit was removed from the 
basement. The occupant of the building complained of fatigue and was 
treated at the scene.
The meter used for the analysis was a MSA 5 Star, which uses a 
electronic sensor, for measuring CO. Unfortunately, wetted pH paper on 
the tip of the meter input  was not used, which would make this a simple 
determination. I suspect that the battery had lost nearly all of its 
water, and was possibly vaporizing the sulfuric acid, what surprised me 
was the  false CO reading and that the patient's symptoms mimic those of 
CO poisoning.
Have others in our very knowledgeable group observed anything similar to 
this scenario?

Jay Toigo
Eastern Pennsylvania

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