Preventing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning In Restaurants

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WILKES BARRE -- Restaurants in Luzerne County are required to have smoke alarms and Carbon monoxide detectors.

According to a code enforcement officer in Ashley, any commercial building with gas, oil, coal, or fuel heating is required to have Carbon monoxide detectors.

This includes all restaurants.

Restaurant employees in Wilkes-Barre Township said they do whatever they have to to make sure customers and workers are safe.

More often than not, smoke alarms and Carbon monoxide detectors will be found on the ceilings in restaurants.

"You can actually feel it. It sucks all the air up through here," said Mark Lee, an employee at Nello's Pizza in Wilkes-Barre Township.

According to Lee, these are just some of the things restaurants need to stay safe.

"We get an inspection every other month to every month, sometimes. It depends," said Lee.

The state, local municipalities and fire departments regularly check restaurants to make sure the buildings are up to code.

Hopefully this will help prevent deadly incidents like a leak in a water heater chimney  that lead to Carbon monoxide poisoning on Long Island, New york this past Saturday.

Alex Velasquez is a manager at La Tolteca in Wilkes-Barre township where a fire destroyed the restaurant last year.

"It's something you're not prepared for. It just happens, and you got to do what you're supposed to do and get the people to safety," said Velasquez.

Code enforcement officers said Carbon monoxide detectors are required for buildings that use gas, oil, coal, and fuel heating.

Kitchens like the one at Nello's need extra ventilation for their fryers, grills and 500-degree ovens.

Lee said, "Any kind of smoke has noxious materials in it, poisonous gases or whatever. So you have to leave the vents on and they have to work properly in order to exhaust all the smoke."

Both Lee and Velasquez said they and their bosses work hard to make sure their restaurants are safe.

Ultimately, the right equipment and inspections are about all you can do.

Velasquez said, "Hopefully we're never going to get something like that here."

"It could happen anywhere, at any time," Lee said.

According to the fire chief for Wilkes-Barre city, there used to be a time that smoke alarms were not required everywhere, but there are now.

The fire chief believes rules for Carbon monoxide detectors are heading in the same direction.