Another Chicago Church Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Chicago Church Carbon Monoxide poisoning happens again as 12 hospitalized at New Philadelphia Baptist Church on the Southside.

By Attorney Gordon Johnson

Another Chicago Church carbon monoxide poisoning has occurred with 12 people taken to area hospitals on Sunday after high levels of carbon monoxide poisoning leaked into the ambient air at the New Philadelphia Baptist Church on Chicago’s Southside.

According to ABC Seven:

Deacon Darryl Person said utility crews told him the cause was faulty furnace parts and says this is a good reminder for everyone to check their heating systems checked.

“Make sure your furnace is checked out good if you smell anything call the fire department, don’t be a hero cause the carbon monoxide is what they call a ‘silent killer,'” Deacon Darryl Person said. See

Church carbon monoxide

Another Church carbon monoxide poisoning in Chicago strikes Sunday at the New Philadelphia Baptist Church on Chicago’s Southside. 


Sunday’s poisoning was at least the third Chicago church carbon monoxide poisoning in the last five years. In 2021 there was a poisoning at an Evanston church and in 2017 there was a poisoning at the Bethel Apostolic Church on Chicago’s Austin neighborhood:

What do all of these incident have in common: no carbon monoxide detectors. Sunday’s incident is particularly concerning as reports are that some of the parishioners were in serious condition. In order for someone to be hospitalized in serious condition, ambient air levels of carbon monoxide would have to be far above levels that would have warned parishioners. Alarms should sound before carboxyhemoglobin levels get much above 10%. To hospitalize someone in serious condition, levels would have had to have exceeded 30% in all likelihood.

Causes of Church Carbon Monoxide Poisonings

Why do these types of events keep happening?

First, the absence of the fail safe device of a carbon monoxide alarm. We have been writing about the failure to have alarms in hotels, schools and office buildings in recent weeks. This week, it is a church where the leak occurs. Unfortunately, carbon monoxide detector requirements seem to wait for the next tragedy before action is taken. While the International Fire Code has recently been changed to require detectors in almost all spaces, there is always some category where people don’t think they are required. As this latest poisoning proves, wherever people are indoors, there needs to be carbon monoxide alarms. This is especially true of where people congregate, especially schools and churches.

Deferred Maintenance on Furnaces can be Fatal

Second, churches are another example of the kind of places where there isn’t anyone trained to do the maintenance job properly. Maintaining a furnace or a boiler is not for amateurs or volunteers. Keeping an appliance safe is about more than changing the filters. Burners have to be cleaned, annually. Flues and pipes have to be checked. Any evidence of rust or corrosion must be seen as warning signs of negative pressure, which will lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. Equally important, furnaces, boilers and hot water heaters must be replaced when they get to the end of their useful life. Furnaces generally have a useful life of under 20 years. Boilers are far more dangerous and the manufacturer’s recommendations must be followed for replacement. Hot water heaters generally have a useful life of ten years. Waiting for the device to break to replace can be a fatal mistake.

How to Avoid Church Carbon Monoxide Events

Maintenance costs money. Replacing appliances cost money. Is it fair to impose such a burden on a charitable organization like a church or school? Yes it is. These buildings are used by 100’s of people at a time. The risk of a mass casualty is significant. Finding a place to worship isn’t just about a roof over the congregation’s head but about providing a safe environment where people are not harmed by the air they breathe.

Finally, carbon monoxide alarms are cheap. Maybe at the next offering, you should put a carbon monoxide poisoning  alarm in the collection plate.

church carbon monoxide

Another church carbon monoxide hits Chicago Sunday, with 12 being hospitalized from a leak at the New Philadelphia Baptist Church. Click here for more:






0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *