This was an unusual fire related event that we want to share with you – as 4 building maintenance workers were killed yesterday in a basement parking garage in Tokyo, Japan. Their deaths were caused when a fire suppression system was unintentionally activated, trapping them in an enclosed / limited air space with high levels of carbon dioxide.
When carbon dioxide gas is released in a confined or unventilated area, it can lower the concentration of oxygen to a point where it is dangerous for human health. (SEE DATA SHEET BELOW).
A total of six men were actually replacing ceiling linings in the parking garage of a condominium building in Shinjuku Ward when the fire suppression system caused shutters to automatically close and began discharging CO2 as the fire extinguishing agent into the confined area.
The four men ranged in age from their 30s to their 50s and one worker in his 20s is in a critical condition and receiving treatment at a hospital.
Firefighters measured the CO2 density in the parking garage as about 20%, several hundred times higher than the normal level. After the incident, which took place shortly after 5 p.m., one of the six workers managed to exit the parking garage and sought help from a person in charge of the maintenance work.
In January, two maintenance workers also died in the underground parking lot of a building in Tokyo’s Minato Ward apparently due to a malfunction of a fire extinguishing device using CO2.
CO (Carbon Monoxide) and CO2 (Carbon Dioxide)
What’s the difference?
These are often confused. While the names sound similar they are completely different gases with entirely different makeups. While both are colorless, odorless and tasteless gases and have the word “carbon” in their name they are not the same.
Take Care. Be Careful. Pass It On.