‘Colorless, odorless and tasteless’: Expert warns about dangers of carbon monoxide

The leak Tuesday at The Venue Apartments on Central Avenue in Memphis sent five people to the hospital, including a firefighter.

It also killed four pets inside.

But the Memphis Fire Department said on Tuesday night that it was safe to return.

MFD said that a boiler being repaired was the likely cause of the leak.

But all is not fixed at the apartment complex.

The heat is off as the boiler is repaired.

And residents told FOX13 that they don’t know when it will be back on.

”Carbon monoxide is dangerous because it is colorless, odorless and tasteless,” said Todd Conklin, vice president of Memphis Firefighters Association.

Carbon monoxide traveled through The Venue apartments in Midtown on Tuesday.

More than 250 residents were forced to sleep elsewhere Tuesday night.

”Space heaters, gas heaters, they all put off a form of or small amount of carbon monoxide,” Conklin said. “It elevates during the holidays and cold weather.”

An MFD spokesperson said that the carbon monoxide leak may have started from a boiler that was being repaired.

“It apparently traveled throughout the building. It is a high-rise and it is lighter than air,” said Conklin.

Conklin said that symptoms may appear to be flu-like. Once you know something is wrong, it could be too late.

“Since you can’t see it, taste it or smell it. Oftentimes, you don’t know what is happening,” said Conklin.

The CDC said that carbon monoxide leads to more than 20,000 emergency room visits and 4,000 hospitalizations each year in the U.S.

So what can you do?

Todd Conklin suggests buying a carbon monoxide detector, which can cost as little as $10.