East Hampton Fire Department Called Twice to CVS

A soot-covered heating system caused a carbon monoxide leak inside the CVS pharmacy on Friday, according to the East Hampton Fire Department Chief Gerard Turza. Firefighters had been called there twice last week. Michael Heller

East Hampton fire officials went to the CVS store on Pantigo Road twice last week due to a faulty heating system. 

On New Year’s Eve, employees reported smelling gas at about 4:50 p.m. Fire officials found slightly elevated carbon monoxide levels in some areas of the store. The manager was advised to have the system checked.  

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, toxic gas. It can come from furnaces or chimneys with leaks, gas ranges, generators, appliances and space heaters fueled by gasoline, and fireplaces that aren’t vented properly. 

Officials were back at CVS last Thursday morning around 8:40 for what was reported as “a smell of fuel.” East Hampton Fire Department Chief Gerard Turza Jr.’s CO meter detected a reading of 28 parts per million in the pharmacy area, where the ceiling is lowest. Carbon monoxide is slightly less dense than air so it rises. At other parts of the store, where the ceiling is higher, there were no readings.  

“This time we had CO readings that necessitated us evacuating the store and ventilating the building,” Chief Turza said. The levels were below what would activate the CO alarms, which were about 14 feet off the floor of the building, he said.

The heating system was turned off. Despite a technician’s inspection of the system after the call on New Year’s Eve, “We found that the vent on the heating unit was completely packed with soot and it was back-feeding into the building,” the chief said. 

An ambulance stood by as a precaution. No one was taken to the hospital.