Clarksville provides update on carbon monoxide alert sent to residents

The Town of Clarksville provided more information on a carbon monoxide alert sent to residents...
The Town of Clarksville provided more information on a carbon monoxide alert sent to residents on Christmas Eve.(MGN)
Published: Dec. 27, 2022 at 3:24 PM EST
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CLARKSVILLE, Ind. (WAVE) - The Town of Clarksville provided more information on a carbon monoxide alert sent to residents on Christmas Eve after people called in about issues in their homes.

Officials said the first incident was reported around 3 a.m. after two homeowners complained of chest pain. Within the same district two hours later, another report came in on a gas leak two hours later.

The patients who were transported to the hospital had high levels of carbon monoxide in their system, causing gas to be shut down in many homes and businesses.

Clarksville Fire Chief Brandon Skaggs said they’re still working to determine how the gas leak happened.

“I don’t know the actual cause,” Skaggs said. “I will say that the homes that we responded to and the businesses that we responded to, it wasn’t widespread throughout the town. We did have members, we did have a member from the gas utility in the Command Center, but we still didn’t get any clear answers on what was going on. So, we are trying to figure out and determine, because at this point we want to recover, but be proactive for our residents.”

Firefighters said they have responded to more than 100 gas or carbon monoxide reports since the first report came in on Saturday. While calls have decreased, officials are still responding to locations.

CenterPoint Energy released a statement on Tuesday afternoon saying there is no indication issues came from the utility company’s natural gas system:

“At this time, there is no indication of issues with CenterPoint Energy’s natural gas system, and it continues to operate safely. Since calls began coming in on the morning of Christmas Eve, we have been working with the Clarksville and New Albany Fire Departments to respond to the increase in carbon monoxide calls in the area, including having local management from CenterPoint Energy Operations on the ground to support Clarksville and New Albany emergency responders.

We always take emergency calls very seriously and have responded to, and investigated, the potential causes of carbon monoxide. We found the majority of calls CenterPoint Energy responded to were due to improper appliance venting. Additionally, the extreme weather, including freezing temperatures, high wind gusts and snow/ice accumulation were also contributing factors to further issues with customer appliances as their equipment was stressed during the event.

As is industry practice, CenterPoint Energy has utilized a propane air mix to supplement natural gas to assist during times of high system demand. The propane-air peak shaving plant which serves a portion of the area has been in service since the 1970s and is regularly monitored and maintained to industry standards. It has been used during past extreme weather events, including last year during a similar cold weather event, to help safely and reliably deliver natural gas service to customers in the Clarksville and New Albany areas.

We want to echo our earlier reminder on exercising caution when utilizing fuel-burning appliances. Carbon monoxide can result from incomplete combustion, and proper venting is essential to ensure safe use. We will continue to partner with local agencies and assess any issues that may arise. Our thoughts are with those families who have been affected during the holidays.”