Downtown hotel evacuated after carbon monoxide scare

Acknowledgement to Ironshore Environmental

By Brian R. Ballou, Globe Staff, and Michaela Stanelun, Globe Correspondent
The Boston Globe

Elevated levels of carbon monoxide forced the evacuation today of the Liberty Hotel, sending hundreds of workers, guests and two monkeys and a pet crow out onto Charles Street.

When the owner of the crow named “Shaft” heard the words “carbon monoxide,” he immediately rushed outdoors because he did not want his bird to become the canary in the coal mine. The monkeys were also hustled outside by their trainers, who were fearful that the noxious fumes might sicken the small primates.

No injuries — to man or beast — have been reported. The animals are staying at the luxury hotel for a movie being filmed in Boston. The former Charles Street Jail now has nearly 300 luxury hotel rooms, all of which were sold out when firefighters responded to the call at 9:36 a.m., according to Steve MacDonald, a spokesman for the Boston Fire Department.

High levels of carbon monoxide were detected in hallways, rooms, and stairwells. Investigators pinpointed the problem to a boiler which had a small hole. The hotel’s ventilation system circulated the carbon monoxide throughout the building, MacDonald said.

By mid afternoon noon, guests were allowed to return to the hotel. Ladder trucks and other emergency vehicles lined Cambridge Street.

“It’s just a minor inconvenience,” said Tom Grosso, 45, a businessman from Chelmsford who stays at the Liberty two or three times a week. “Better safe than sorry. If I had known it was carbon monoxide, I would have gotten out of my room quicker.”

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