Carbon monoxide leaks concern Richmond families

RICHMOND, Va. -- A carbon monoxide leak prompted some Richmond families to evacuate their South Richmond apartments overnight, evacuees at the Village South Townhomes said. The families were allowed back into their apartments by 3:10 a.m.

Richmond Fire and EMS crews were called to the scene, along the 3000 block of Maury Street, after a carbon monoxide detector went off around 1:45 a.m.

When they arrived on scene, crews found high carbon monoxide readings and turned off the gas, according to Richmond Fire spokesperson Lt. Chris Armstrong.

Neighbors said they opened windows and used fans to air out their homes.

"It was a gas leak and it started at the last apartment on the end and the readings was like 100," neighbor Clifton Cammack said. "It traveled all the way down everyone else’s apartment. They make you open your doors and your window and you get a big fan to blow it out to make the readings go down low."

Cammack , who said this was not the first time in his eight years living in the complex that carbon monoxide was an issue, said he has requested new appliances from management.

Aaron Fonville claims he and his son suffered medical problems because he said there were faulty carbon monoxide detectors in his home.

“I discovered me and my child had carbon monoxide poisoning and the doctor told us both to take the next 2 to 3 days to ourselves,” Fonville said.

In fact, he said the detector in his home wasn’t working correctly and as a result he suffered carbon monoxide poisoning back in February.

“After they brought that second one it showed that there is a big problem here the carbon monoxide detector registered even higher than the defaulty one,” he said.

Property Manager Monica Johnson said the complex spent $20,000 to clean the roof stack and flutes for 112 units in hopes of alleviating the issue.

But now Fonville is left with thousands in medical bills.

“My main thing is pay my bills, so my insurance rate doesn’t go up and my copayment disappears,” said Fonville.

A representative from Genesis Property Management said no decision has been made on whether they will pay his medical expenses.

The property manager also said they’re looking to fix up the entire property and they are hoping to work with Richmond fire and EMS to see where the gas leaks are and what will need to be replaced.

CBS 6 reached out to the Richmond Public Utilities and Richmond Gas Works to get more information, but as of 12 p.m., our calls had not been returned.

This is a developing story. Witnesses can send news tips and photos here.