Carbon monoxide leak kills 2 in Shanghai

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Glasses are shattered at after an explosion hit DF Nanzhuang menswear store on Dongmen Street in Huinan Town, Pudong, on Monday. [Photo/Shanghai Daily]

Two shop workers died and another is in a critical condition after being exposed to carbon monoxide at a clothing store in the Pudong New Area around lunchtime Monday.

Firefighters arrived at the DF Nanzhuang menswear store at 388 Dongmen Street in Huinan Town at around 12:30 p.m.

Earlier, according to Wu Qing of Pudong's emergency management bureau, two women had been carried out of the building by the owner and another staff member. They were later pronounced dead.

According to Shanghai Television, four shop assistants suffered carbon monoxide poisoning. The fourth, Guo, is in a stable condition. He told the TV news he called the police after noticing something was wrong. Guo also felt dizzy himself, but remained conscious.

Notice of a power outage for equipment maintenance yesterday had been sent to shops on the street several days ago by the local power company. Many shops had chosen to generate their own electricity.

"The shop had a gasoline generator on the second floor," said Wu. An initial investigation suggested incomplete combustion of gasoline had produced carbon monoxide. Wu said the shop started the generator at around 9 a.m.

"One female clerk went upstairs to check the Wi-Fi router, and another went upstairs to use the bathroom," Wu said. "They didn't come back downstairs, so a third clerk went up to check on them."

Wu said the second floor of the shop was an enclosed space with only one small window which was closed at the time of the incident.

An assistant at the shop next door saw two people lying on the ground in front of the shop and the owner, who appeared to be very upset calling the police. The second floor of the shop was in darkness because of the blackout.

A worker at a bubble tea shop across the street told Shanghai Daily four ambulances had arrived at the scene.

Firefighters who rushed into the shop were also said to have suffered carbon monoxide poisoning. Pudong's firefighting department told Shanghai Daily later: "All firefighters will be fine after spending sometime in hyperbaric chambers."

At 6 p.m. last night, all shops within a 100-meter radius of the DF Nanzhuang store were locked down.

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