Carbon monoxide leak forces mall to close

Posted: July 20, 2007

Managers closed the Oxford Valley Mall in Langhorne yesterday morning after store employees showed symptoms of exposure to carbon monoxide.

About 7 a.m. yesterday, an employee of the mall's J.C. Penney Co. store called 911 complaining of symptoms of the odorless, colorless gas, according to Frank Farry, fire chief for the Langhorne-Middletown Fire Company. Eight people were taken to Frankford Hospital-Bucks County Campus, treated with oxygen, and released, said Maria Cerceo-Slade, a hospital spokeswoman.

A chimney on Penneys' roof had collapsed, sending carbon monoxide into the ventilation system, Farry said. The store will remain closed until at least today, he said, but the rest of the mall was reopened early yesterday afternoon.

Carbon monoxide levels of 900 parts per million were detected inside Penneys, Farry said. The reading was 200 ppm in the corridor outside the store, and 500 ppm in nearby stores, he said. A normal level is 10 ppm.- Jeremy Rogoff

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