The Columbus Dispatch reported on the heroic firefighter Brian Severs who went with his gut feeling instead of listening to the nursing home employees. A resident of Bryden Place was struggling to communicate with 911. Then a nursing home employee came on the line, explaining that the nursing home resident who called was prone to complaining about his health.
“To be honest with you, there’s nothing wrong,” the nurse said. “This happens all the time.”
Severs listened to his gut and sent medics anyway. When they arrived, they found levels of carbon-monoxide high enough to evacuate a wing of the nursing home. Eventually, 10 medics were sent to the 143-occupant nursing home around 5 p.m. Ten residents and employees with elevated carbon-monoxide levels were sent to the hospital.
Firefighters clear a building at 35 parts per million of carbon monoxide. First responders measured readings of between 60 and 120 ppm on the second and third floors of Bryden’s south wing, and 350 ppm in its basement. Fire officials said that the nursing home dodged a bullet, thanks to the 911 call and Severs’ actions.
There were no carbon-monoxide detectors in Bryden Place, and state law does not require them. Because the gas is colorless, odorless and tasteless, people might not identify symptoms such as dizziness or nausea as carbon-monoxide poisoning.