BOSTON (CBS) — Local police departments are taking precautionary actions against an invisible poison after it may have caused an Auburn Police Officer to pass out in his car and rear end another car on the road.
Auburn Police Chief Andrew Sluckis said Wednesday that the Ford Explorer cruiser the officer crashed tested positive for carbon monoxide. Further testing found that five more officers had high levels of carbon monoxide. All six were sent to the hospital.
“We discovered low-level readings in single digits along with readings as high as 39 and 40,” said Sluckis.
The chief added that carbon monoxide detectors have been ordered.
In response to the incident, Boston Police decided to test all of their Ford Explorers for carbon monoxide.
While they said at this point there is not recall, the “BPD Fleet is collaborating with the State Police on testing for leaks. Pending more definitive information from NHTSA, we are in the process of ordering mountable carbon monoxide detectors for the Interceptors operated by BPD.”
Boxborough Police also tweeted that they will be installing CO detectors into all of their cruisers.
Duxbury Police announced they would be adding CO detectors to their cruisers “for officer safety while awaiting permanent solution from Ford.”
13 Ford Explorers used by officials in Auburn were taken out of service after testing positive for carbon monoxide. Ten were police cruisers, two were from the fire department, and one was from the Department of Public Works. Not all of the vehicles are the interceptor model.
Sluckis, the town manager met with Ford engineers to inspect the vehicle with help from Auburn Police, Fire and the DPW.
The Auburn Police Department became one of several across the country with late model Explorers leaking potentially deadly carbon monoxide into the passenger compartment. Ford suggested the problem could be caused by small holes drilled in to add special police features after the Explorers leave the factory.
Vice President of Ford Hau Thai-Tang responded saying, “There’s nothing we take more seriously than providing you with the safest, most reliable vehicles to support your life-saving work.”
A spokesperson from the company also stated, “It’s premature to draw conclusions from what happened today in Auburn after reports of carbon monoxide at levels of 13 parts per million in the vehicle. According to the Massachusetts Environmental Affairs, ‘most people do not begin to feel the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning until they have been exposed to levels of at least 200 parts per million for several hours or more.’ Given this discrepancy, more investigating is required.”