Gas leaks force evacuation of 2 Mpls. apartment buildings

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The Pioneer Press reports around 30 residents were evacuated from a building because of a gas leak in the Stevens Square neighborhood about 7 p.m. Saturday. They spent several hours in two city busses, where officials said they were kept warm and safe.

Centerpoint Energy crews and the Minneapolis Fire Department determined the leak came from outside the building. They were finalizing repairs on Sunday.

KSTP reports 10 residents of a Minneapolis apartment were evacuated Saturday because of a carbon monoxide leak. They were taken to Hennepin County Medical Center, where most were treated and released.

They are seeking shelter elsewhere because they can't go home to 1846 Central Ave.

Residents said they told the landlord they weren't feeling well for the past month. Last week, the landlord bought a carbon monoxide detector.

The detector went off Saturday night and a resident called 9-1-1.

One resident told WCCO he was frustrated and disappointed by poor maintenance in the building.

Diono Alvin said he and his family were just finishing dinner when his carbon monoxide alarm went off about 8 p.m.

They all had felt dizzy or nauseated for days, but it didn’t occur to them that carbon monoxide could be the cause.

He says the new detector saved their lives.

“I don’t even want to think about it, because I just got that carbon monoxide detector three to four days ago. If me and my kids went to sleep, we wouldn’t be here,” Alvin said.

FOX 9 said officials believe the leak was caused by the building's heating system. That has been disabled and is under investigation.

None of the victims is reported to be in serious or critical condition.

A spokeswoman for Centerpoint Energy told the Pioneer Press that Minnesota law requires carbon monoxide detectors.

"A lot of people dismiss it this time of year and don't realize it's carbon monoxide," said Rebecca Virden. "The fail-safe protection is a carbon monoxide alarm, which is required by law."

She said detectors should be replaced every five to seven years.

Unlike carbon monoxide, which is odorless, colorless and tasteless, natural gas smells like rotten eggs. Both can be lethal.

Saturday night's incidents comes nearly three weeks after a building in Minneapolis' Cedar-Riverside neighborhood exploded, killing three people and injuring another 14. The cause of the explosion remains under investigation.

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