Some moving after near-fatal incident

Shoaib Babakarkhel is looking for a new place to live.


“I am scared for my family here,” he said yesterday of his apartment at 85 Woodridge Cres. “I will have to find a new home.”


Babakarkhel lives with his wife and four children in one of 10 units that had to be evacuated last Thursday, due to high levels of carbon monoxide that leaked from a suspected faulty furnace. Eight people were hospitalized before it was caught.


The Babakarkhels had suffered carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms for nearly a week before the evacuation. His wife was nauseous and complained of headaches and thought she may be pregnant again. His kids were sick, but they thought it was the flu.

Babakarkhel’s three-month-old daughter was sleeping longer than usual and he had no idea why.

“She can’t speak. We have no idea how sick she could have been. She could be a ghost right now,” he said.

Testing found concentrations of carbon monoxide in pockets throughout the building that could have proven deadly within hours. A Queensway-Carleton doctor diagnosed carbon monoxide poisoning in two patients and alerted authorities, who evacuated the building.

While firefighters flushed the building and the leak has been repaired, Babakarkhel said he’s not comfortable there and will inform property manager Minto of that today.

Minto had yet to verify the source of the leak or whether the building had a carbon-monoxide detector.

Stephanie Labrecque, whose sons Corey and Jason were taken to hospital Thursday, said her boys are still sick. She bought a CO detector that says the air in her apartment is safe, but she still worries.

“It could just be the flu, but now you think it could be something worse. It doesn’t go away,” she said.

Labrecque thought about moving out, but decided to try to get resettled with her own CO detector.

“I could move to a new place but it could happen there in a couple months, too,” she said. “At least here it just happened. They’ve fixed it and I hope installed a CO detector downstairs. It shouldn’t happen again.”


  • Thursday’s incident has raised questions about whether or not carbon monoxide detectors should be mandatory in buildings with gas furnaces or woodstoves. “It’s something that should be looked into,” said Coun. Marianne Wilkinson (Kanata-North). “It is a silent killer. You can’t see or smell it. Even with a fire, the smoke may wake you up.” Wilkinson said it should be a provincial regulation, like smoke detectors, but said Ottawa should still look into making them mandatory.