Clarksville awaiting carbon monoxide investigation results

More than a week after multiple people in Clark County were hospitalized due to carbon monoxide poisoning, the Town of Clarksville is awaiting answers for what
Published: Jan. 4, 2023 at 3:26 PM EST
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CLARKSVILLE, Ind. (WAVE) - More than a week after multiple people in Clark County were hospitalized due to carbon monoxide poisoning, the Town of Clarksville is awaiting answers for what happened.

Four people were taken to the hospital over Christmas weekend on reports of high levels of carbon monoxide coming from people’s homes.

The Clarksville Fire Department issued a statement on Dec. 24 alerting residents of the issue and stating dozens of calls had been made from people experiencing effects of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Clarksville Fire Chief Brandon Skaggs said so far, crews responded to more than 100 calls dealing with carbon monoxide, and confirmed New Albany and Jeffersonville Fire Departments also responded to similar calls.

At the Clarksville Town Council meeting on Tuesday, Representative Rita Fleming said she first heard about the problem when someone called her Christmas morning.

“She said, ‘something is going on. We’re experiencing our carbon monoxide alarm going off, we’re feeling ill,’” Fleming said.

She called representative Ed Clere in New Albany, who was aware of the situation.

“He was able to get in contact with a representative of the gas company who initially said ‘oh it’s the propane thing. We know about it.’ Quickly walked back from that about two hours later to the ‘we don’t know, probably not our fault kind of issue,’” Fleming said.

CenterPoint Energy, a gas and electric utility service in the area, said last week the issues were the result of “improper appliance venting” and that colder weather was also a factor in the carbon monoxide issues.

“When you have that many events happening at the same time, then you have to start looking at commonalities. The commonality here is that those who are on gas, were affected by the gas,” said Clarksville Town Council Member Mike Mustain.

Mustain proposed the council send a statement to CenterPoint.

“Stating our full support for the citizens of Clarksville. For those who have been affected and sent that to CenterPoint so that they know that we’re serious about it,” Mustain said.

Fleming and Mustain say the most important thing people whose appliances were damaged or people who received medical treatment can do right now, is save their receipts.

“If you’ve had a water heater you’ve had to replace, save the receipt, and be ready to submit that because as this unfolds, then we’re going to need to be able to establish those costs,” Mustain said.

“We certainly intend to hold the people accountable who it appears that this point are responsible for this,” Fleming said.

Indiana’s Utility Regulatory Commission said it began an investigation into the incident days later, stating it was unsatisfied with the utility company’s response.

“Our residents want answers as to what caused the dangerous carbon monoxide issues which hit our community over the holidays,” Council President Ryan Ramsey said in a release. “The Clarksville Town Council will do everything in its power to get the answers our residents deserve, and we remain committed to holding those responsible accountable.”

The IURC is reviewing all of CenterPoint Energy’s records surrounding the incident and expected to meet again on Thursday to discuss findings.

Anyone who received medical treatment or may have had appliances damaged due to the carbon monoxide issues are asked to save their receipts or documentation.