Off-duty firefighter alerts day care to high CO levels
Lt. Matt Anzivino, 42, was dropping off his two young daughters when he noticed a strong sulfur smell
MEDWAY, Mass. — A quick-thinking off-duty Medway firefighter averted a potential catastrophe yesterday after a boiler at a local day care sprang a carbon monoxide leak.
Lt. Matt Anzivino, 42, said he was dropping off his two young daughters at Back to Basics Preschool on his way to work yesterday at about 7:40 a.m. when he noticed something amiss.
“When I walked in, I noticed a strong smell — a pungent sulfur smell — and I immediately knew something was wrong,” Anzivino said. “I thought it to be a furnace problem, so I evacuated the building right away.”
When fire crews showed up at the scene, they found a problem with one of the boilers in the Episcopal church that houses the day care. Medway firefighters measured the carbon monoxide at 600 parts per million in the basement — a level that can lead to death in as little as two hours.
They also found that levels of carbon monoxide had already climbed to 140 ppm at the day care on the first floor, according to Anzivino, who’s been with the Medway Fire Department since 2001.
Anzivino said his girls — a kindergartner and first-grader — don’t go to the day care’s before-school program every day because he normally puts them on the school bus himself, calling today’s drop-off a lucky coincidence.
“Obviously I couldn’t be prouder of the lieutenant’s actions,” said Medway fire Chief Jeffrey P. Lynch. “Clearly his experience and actions paid off today. If the alarms had not gone off and with all those small children in the building, the outcome could have been very different.”
Wendy Kilty said she opened her longtime day care yesterday morning and the heat had just kicked on when she also noticed a “weird smell.”
By that time there were only four children — including Anzivino’s two daughters — at the day care that’s licensed for up to 26 kids.
“We were very lucky that there were a couple of kids out sick and parents were running late, so I didn’t have my usual crowd,” Kilty said. “But we do fire drills all the time and we’re prepared for evacuation. Thank God for God — He was looking out for us I guess.”
Anzivino said he didn’t hear any carbon monoxide alarms when he investigated in the basement, but firefighters who arrived later found the detectors going off. Anzivino said he thinks that the alarms may have sounded after he evacuated the building. Either that, or the noise from the furnace was too loud to hear the alarms earlier.
He said he hopes the near miss serves as a reminder to everyone to make sure all carbon monoxide detectors are working with fresh batteries and replaced every five years.
Kilty said church officials were fixing the boiler yesterday and she told the Herald she plans to reopen the day care today after firefighters check the building as a precaution.
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