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CO2 Leak Causes Potentially Fatal Incident At Rochester Bar

Rochester Fire Department
Sue Moore/Townsquare Media

Rochester firefighters responded to an incident Monday morning that could have easily proved fatal. Deputy Chief Steve Belau says fire crews responded to Roosters Bar in the 2200 block of Superior Drive Northwest around 9:45 a.m. after a custodian collapsed when he went into the basement of the business to check on a hissing noise.

The sound was carbon dioxide leaking out of the system used for carbonated beverages and the bar taps. A vendor told the bar manager the leak was caused by a catastrophic failure of a seal.

The 63-year-old custodian lost consciousness while trying to repair the leak because of a lack of oxygen. Belau says some customers and other employees tried to reach the stricken man but were turned back because the CO2 had displaced the oxygen in the basement and they found they could not breath.

Firefighters wearing self-contained breathing equipment and oxygen tanks on their backs managed to rescue the man, who was transported to Saint Marys Hospital. The manager of the business reported that he was conscious and talking, but was being kept at the hospital for observation. After the basement was ventilated, the CO2 system was repaired and the bar was able to reopen.

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