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Laurel Wal-Mart Evacuated Due To High Carbon Monoxide Levels

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Ritchie Rochelle 175x131 L Rochelle Ritchie
Rochelle Ritchie joined WJZ Eyewitness News in June 2012. Prio...
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LAUREL, Md. (WJZ) — Customers are shopping again at an Anne Arundel County Wal-Mart after the store shut down for hours.

Paramedics were in the building for another incident when the alarm suddenly went off for a carbon monoxide scare.

Rochelle Ritchie explains what happened.

If it had not been for carbon monoxide detectors worn by paramedics, no one in the building would have known that high levels of the poisonous gas were spreading.

Scary moments inside the Maryland City Wal-Mart in Laurel after 250 employees and customers are frantically evacuated because of high levels of carbon monoxide.

“Upon verifying the high readings, they evacuated the store by using the overhead intercom system and also the fire alarm,” said Lt. Russ Davies, Anne Arundel County Fire Department.

Elbert Emanuel was inside the store shopping when he says a manager came yelling for him to get out.

“We were standing in line there and I was getting ready to check out and he was like, ‘Get out of the store, get out of the store!’ Alarms and stuff started going off,” Emanuel said.

It all started while Anne Arundel County paramedics were inside the building tending to another customer who had fallen, when surprisingly, their carbon monoxide detectors went off.

“They quickly evacuated the original patient out to their unit and then took a CO monitor from an engine company that was already on location and went and verified the high readings,” said Davies.

Carbon monoxide is known as a silent killer–it’s odorless, colorless and invisible–so, if it had not been for those alarms going off, no one inside the building would have known it was spreading.

No one was hurt because of the poisonous gas, but customers can only think of what could have been if it had not been for that slip and fall.

“I walked back in the room and thought, ‘I just wonder how much was really in there?’ I wasn’t feeling no kind of feelings since I walked out. So I was fine,” Emanuel said.

The Anne Arundel County Fire Department says the building’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning system is to blame.

“Cut off the gas, ventilated the building and were able to return it to its normal state,” Davies said.

Wal-Mart officials would not comment on the incident.

There’s no word on if the store had carbon monoxide detectors.

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