Las Cruces Senior Center May Reopen Tuesday After Crews Find Source Of Carbon Monoxide

Jan 11, 2013

The sources of carbon monoxide (CO) inside the Munson Center owned and operated by the City of Las Cruces have been identified.  Consultants and City staff will be on-site at Munson Center through the weekend to monitor systems operations. “If all goes well and air quality inside the building remains normal, we anticipate reopening Tuesday, Jan. 15 at the earliest,” said D. Eric Martin, facilities management administrator for the City of Las Cruces.

Martin added, “The City retained the services of two outside consultants to examine all gas appliances inside the center to pinpoint where the gas is coming from,”  “They meticulously checked all gas operated systems to include gas pressure, connections, and settings.”

The primary source of the gas is from the building’s boiler system, which is used to heat the facility. While the 18-month-old boiler system itself is in good working condition, consultants found that settings were off, which affected gas pressure, system run times and air flow through the flue. “Because the boiler wasn’t running long enough each time it kicked on, CO gas was unable to exit the flue. Cold outside air then forced the gas back down the flue and into the building,” Martin said. “This situation doesn’t occur in the summer because the air conditioning unit circulates a certain amount of outside air, which keeps the building clear of CO gas. The technicians made the necessary adjustments to the boiler and are currently monitoring the system to ensure proper operation.”

Martin said a second source of the CO inside Munson Center was traced to the gas range vent hood inside the facility’s kitchen, which is used to prepare meals for local senior residents.

According to Martin, “The consultants found that the vent motor and vent hood required maintenance to increase airflow to proper levels.”

To help ensure continued proper operation of the systems, preventative maintenance will be increased beyond required levels. Also, the boiler room, which is centrally located inside the building, could be relocated adjacent to an exterior wall to help improve ventilation.

The consultants retained by the City are Las Cruces-based RBM Engineering, and an El Paso, TX-based representative of the company that manufactured the boiler.

While Munson Center remains closed, Dial-a-Ride patrons who normally dine at the center will be transported to the Eastside Center, 310 N. Tornillo St.

Patrons who drive themselves will be served at either the Benavidez Center, 1045 McClure Rd. or the Eastside Center.

For more information call 575/541-3000.