20 people taken to hospital after carbon monoxide leak in Vancouver apartment building

The site of a carbon monoxide leak is pictured the day after, on Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021.

More than a dozen people were taken to hospital as a result of a carbon monoxide leak in a downtown Vancouver apartment building Monday.

B.C. Emergency Health Services told CTV News that a total of 20 people were taken to hospital by paramedics due to the leak at a building in the city's West End.

Of those, three people who'd been inside the building at Nelson and Cardero streets were considered to be in serious condition, while the other 17 were stable, BCEHS said.

The call about the leak came in to firefighters at around noon, Asst. Chief Trevor Connolly said. Crews took readings from a number of units in the building, as well as in the parkade and lobby.

According to Connolly, firefighters traced the leak to a broken exhaust pipe on the building's boiler, which had been hit by a vehicle.

BCEHS says it receives more than 100 calls every year about carbon monoxide poisoning. Paramedics have carried monitors since 2017.

Homeowners and renters are encouraged to have monitors on every floor and in every bedroom of their residence, and to regularly check the monitors to ensure they're working.

Anyone who thinks they are being poisoned by CO should go outside and call 911. The gas generally comes from anything that burns, BCEHS says, including gas and propane heaters.

It's a colourless, odourless gas that is undetectable to humans and can be deadly, first responders warn. Symptoms of CO poisoning include headaches, dizziness and nausea.