Furnace woes force evacuation of museum
Saturday, February 21
BRATTLEBORO — Nobody was hurt and no artwork was damaged, but the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center had a scare Friday morning when its furnace began blowing carbon monoxide and other fumes into the furnace room rather than out the chimney.
The Brattleboro Fire Department evacuated the building, shut the furnace down, and measured the amount of carbon monoxide in the air until it reached a safe level.
Because the furnace is in on the first floor and the gallery on the third, with the staff’s offices on the floor in between, the fumes didn’t affect any of the exhibits, according to Museum Director Danny Lichtenfeld.
“There was no trace of any smoke or any problem upstairs in the galleries,” Lichtenfeld said.
Only a few members of the staff were in the building at the time, and there were no injuries or carbon monoxide exposure.
The museum has repaired the furnace and resumed business as usual.
The museum did not have a carbon monoxide detector.
Fire Chief Mike Bucossi said that while carbon monoxide detectors are not legally required in businesses (they are mostly required only for places in which people sleep), he would recommend them for all buildings.
He also said he would like to remind people to keep furnaces clean and in good running condition.
He added that it is important to have them serviced annually and to make sure they are ventilated properly.