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99 Cents Only store evacuated

99 Cents Only store cleared Tuesday morning because of apparent build-up of carbon monoxide fumes.

January 11, 2011

More than a dozen people were evacuated from a 99 Cents Only store in Costa Mesa on Tuesday after people inside started to feel ill, apparently from carbon monoxide.

Firefighters responded to the store, 2180 Harbor Blvd., at about 8:11 a.m. and evacuated customers and employees, some of whom complained about headaches and difficulty with breathing.

Capt. Chris Coates said investigators found carbon monoxide filling up the building from three power generators in the back, which employees had turned on after a brief power outage in the morning. The generators didn't have proper ventilation, he said.

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Authorities aired out the store, turned off the generators and moved them outside, he said. County health officials allowed the store to reopen about 1 p.m.

Eight people complained of symptoms from the gas and four were treated at local hospitals.

Coates added that carbon monoxide detectors are a valuable safety tool for families and a new California law requires new buildings and remodeled ones to have one.

—Joseph Serna

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