Roughly 80 people were temporarily forced out of their northwest condo units Sunday morning because of dangerous levels of carbon monoxide.

Fire crews responded around 10:30 a.m. to the 8800 block of Royal Birch Boulevard after being called by ATCO Gas for high levels of carbon monoxide.

Carbon monoxide

A woman wraps herself in a blanket provided by first responders after being forced out of a condo building in northwest Calgary because of high carbon monoxide levels. (Mike Symington/CBC)

Readings in the building found levels as high as 380 parts per million, which posed a serious and immediate risk to residents' health.

All 132 units in the four-storey condo building were cleared. 

One person had been transferred to Alberta Health Services for care but no other injuries were reported.

Calgary Transit buses were brought in to shelter the evacuees as fire crews ventilated the building.

The Calgary Fire Department is reminding Calgarians that carbon monoxide can be deadly. 

It is tasteless, colourless and odourless, and is produced when fuel does not burn properly.

The best ways to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning are annual inspections of all natural gas-burning appliances and wood burning fireplaces, and installing and maintaining a carbon monoxide detector.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning

Carbon monoxide can built up quickly when inhaled and produced carboxyhemoglobin when combined with your blood. This decreases the blood's ability to carry oxygen.

  • At low levels, symptoms include headache, tiredness, shortness or breath and impaired motor functions. These can often feel like the flu.
  • At high levels, or if people are exposed to low levels for a long time, symptoms include dizziness, chest pain, tiredness, poor vision and difficulty thinking.
  • At very high levels, carbon monoxide can cause convulsions, coma and death.

Source: Health Canada