JAY – Firefighters shut down an apartment house at 9 Church St. Tuesday night after carbon monoxide was detected there for the second time within two months. The landlord was on the site Wednesday to fix the problem.

One child went to the hospital with an asthma attack believed to be linked to the furnace and the events going on, Fire Rescue Assistant Chief Tim Toothaker said Wednesday.

Two families, including five children, renting apartments were displaced. One is staying with family or friends and the other is in a tent outside the three-apartment building.

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas that causes headaches, nausea and sometimes tiredness, Toothaker said.

The vent for the furnace, which is used to heat domestic hot water, was obstructed by plant life and there was a fan in an apartment window above it pulling in air from the outside, he said.

The vegetation had been removed in the past but had grown back.

“We were there for quite a while,” Toothaker said, as firefighters vented the building using fans, shut the furnace off and let tenants go in and get belongings.

The American Red Cross was called in to try to find housing for one family but was unsuccessful, so the family camped out behind the building, he said.

Entrances to the building were closed off with yellow tape barring entry Wednesday.

Owner Alton Howe of southern Maine, who bought the building within the past few months, was there.

“We’re taking care of the problem and cleaning the building up,” he said. “We’re new owners.”

Toothaker said the case has been turned over to the State Fire Marshal’s Office. A representative of the office was expected to check out the place Wednesday to determine if it is habitable.


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