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Carbon monoxide causes Third Avenue shutdown


March 15, 2019

Havre Daily News/Ryan Berry

Emergency responders from Havre Fire and Havre Police work at the scene of a carbon monoxide detection at Heirloom Jewelers Friday morning in downtown Havre. The scene was cleared of CO and Third Avenue was reopened Friday afternoon.

Carbon monoxide detected at Heirloom Jewelers forced emergency services to block off Third Avenue between Second and Third streets in downtown Havre Friday morning.

Havre Fire Chief Mel Paulson said the fire department responded to a report of a gas leak at about 10:15 a.m. and called NorthWestern Energy to the scene when firefighters determined carbon monoxide was in the air.

NorthWestern Energy spokesperson Brandy Powers said a company gas serviceman found dangerous levels of carbon monoxide upon arriving at the scene. The serviceman immediately evacuated the building and shut down the power to the surrounding buildings until he could determine the source of the leak. Powers said the leak affected several businesses on Second and Third streets.

Havre Police, who assisted on the call, evacuated multiple storefronts on the block, including Heirloom Jewelers, Lunch Box, Serenity Salon & Boutique, Flynn Realty and Havre Hardware and Home.

Powers said the source of the leak was a furnace inside a business which was improperly vented and back-drafting into the building. The furnace was shut off to stop the flow of dangerous gas.

Once the threat subsided, power was restored to buildings in the immediate area at 2:17 p.m. Third Avenue was reopened to traffic.

NorthWestern Energy is reminding residents the importance of carbon monoxide detectors and ensuring appliances are in working order.

“Proper ventilation is incredibly important,” Powers said, “especially during winter weather when vents can get blocked by ice and snow.”


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