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Carbon monoxide forces evacuation of Salt Lake apartments

SALT LAKE CITY — One man was taken to a local hospital in serious condition Monday following a carbon monoxide incident at a downtown apartment complex.

Just after noon, firefighters were called to a six-story complex at 343 E. 500 South, where initially there was a report of smoke in the building, said Salt Lake fire spokesman Mark Bednarik. They arrived to find a man in his 40s lying on the ground outside.

After some investigation, crews determined the problem was not smoke, but rather carbon monoxide coming from a gas powered concrete cutter being used in a vacant room on the first floor, Bednarik said. The fumes were getting into the ventilation system and spreading throughout the complex.

Firefighters detected high levels of CO2 inside the building, but no other residents complained of any symptoms, he said.

The complex was evacuated. Firefighters went room to room, opening doors and windows to air out the building and also to make sure there weren't any other victims, Bednarik said.

The incident was being investigated by both Salt Lake police and representatives from Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

— Pat Reavy