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A whopping hoax? Gas leak panic at the local burger joint

[estimated read time: 3 minutes]

We are always on the lookout for stories about incidents about gas leaks at Analox, and when we saw this news story appear in our inbox, we knew we had to investigate it in more detail.

In early April, an employee at the Coon Rapids Burger King in Minneapolis received a phone call from someone who said they were with the local fire department. They claimed that there were dangerous levels of carbon monoxide in the building and that the building would explode if staff did not relieve the pressure inside the building.

This resulted in staff panicking and smashing the windows of the building, in an attempt to keep themselves safe.

Police quickly arrived on the scene and confirmed that the call was a hoax and they would never call a household or business and ask them to take action in this way. Apart from one employee suffering minor cuts, nobody else was injured.

Interestingly, this was not the first attempt to troll fast-food staff. Two months earlier, a manager of a Burger King in California drove his car into the building after a similar call, resulting in an estimated $35,000 of damage. In Oklahoma, staff caused $10,000 of damage to windows in a repeat event.

So….what was wrong with the story? The best lies are the ones which have an element of truth to them, and this prank call was no exception. Carbon monoxide is flammable which could lead to an explosion in extreme cases. However, due to its toxicity, it is far more likely to cause health problems or death before then.

In a fast food restaurant, carbon dioxide is more likely to be a danger. Whilst carbon monoxide is the unpleasant result of faulty gas appliances, carbon dioxide is always present in fast food restaurants as it is needed to carbonate fizzy drinks and soda. If there is a leak in the tubing carrying the gas, carbon dioxide can leak and potentially cause illness and death. For example, a carbon dioxide leak caused the death of a woman in a McDonald’s restaurant in 2011.  

Whether you are concerned about carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide in your place of work, a gas detector is an important piece of kit. Analox provide detectors which can alert you if concentrations of gases rise above a certain level. For example, the Ax60 carbon dioxide monitor has three different alarms depending on the level of gas in the atmosphere – 0.5%, 1.5% and 3.0%.

Unfortunately, as the quote goes: “If hindsight was foresight, we’d all be geniuses” and it is easy to panic and go to extreme measures if you believe your life is in danger. If there is a suspected gas leak at your place of work, the best thing to do is to evacuate the building, call the fire department and most importantly, not panic.

p.s – If you’d like us to keep you up to date with the latest gas industry news and incidents, why not sign up to our blog mailing list, and we’ll send you twice-weekly updates?

Author: Kate Ingham, Digital Marketing Executive

Founded in 1981, Analox Sensor Technology provides niche and custom gas detection solutions to industries including beverage and fast food, commercial diving and laboratories. Analox has over 325 years of collective, specialist electronics and software engineering expertise, as well as a worldwide distributor network. Contact us to see how we can provide expert gas monitoring solutions and help you achieve your goals.

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