"Lethal" Levels of Carbon Monoxide Force Evacuation of Redding Church

POSTED: 1:55 PM Jan 30 2013   UPDATED: 9:25 PM Jan 27 2013
Church Evacuated by Carbon Monoxide Photo
REDDING, Calif. -

Church members were evacuated Sunday morning after Redding firefighters found what they described as "lethal" levels of carbon monoxide inside First United Methodist Church in Redding.

The call came in around 8:30 a.m. from the church at 1825 East Street.  People were arriving for the 9 a.m. Sunday service when someone smelled a rotten egg smell.

They called 911 and Redding firefighters found lethal levels of carbon monoxide inside the building.  They immediately evacuated the building.

Gas to the building was shut off.  Firefighters believe the smell was caused by natural gas.

A battalion chief on scene said had there not been an odor from the natural gas, the situation could have been catastrophic, since carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless.  The church had no carbon monoxide detectors.

Firefighters wore protective gear and air tanks as they swept the building.  Redding Electric Utility and PG&E also responded. 

By 10:30 a.m., the building was cleared of carbon monoxide.  A church official said late Sunday the cause of the leak was likely a boiler inside the building.