By Harrison Thrasher
The Mason Times
The Mason Public Library is open again after an exhaust issue caused it to be shut down for several days. Operations resumed March 2 when officials and the fire department deemed the library safe once again.
According to zoning and development Director David Haywood, library staff was concerned about the sudden smell of exhaust in the building the morning of Friday, Feb. 27. When called, Haywood smelled the exhaust almost immediately upon entering the building.
“It was certainly alarming,” said Haywood. “I had the fire chief come right over and he detected carbon monoxide in the boiler room at significantly dangerous levels.”
Fire Chief Kerry Minshall immediately evacuated the building. The only people in the building at the time were the library staff, as the library was not yet open. Minshall was glad the building was evacuated when it was.
“The levels in the boiler room were almost deadly,” said Minshall. “If nothing had been done, the levels in the public areas could’ve reached dangerous levels that day.”
After the building had been closed, the investigation on the cause began. According to Haywood, the boiler was not the problem. As it turns out, the boiler had been overdue for service. The exhaust pipe for the boiler was almost clogged, causing the exhaust to essentially overflow into the boiler room and, subsequently, the building.
The boiler was cleaned out over the weekend and began to function normally again. The sub-zero temperatures in Mason did not make the process any easier, as repairs knocked out the heat in the building.
“We had to use temporary heaters to keep the building from freezing,” said Haywood. “It was a long process over the weekend, but it is now functioning and the building was cleared for safety.”
According to Haywood, a new boiler is not necessary now, but is something that may need to be considered as it was installed in 1960. By Haywood’s estimate, a new boiler would cost “somewhere between $30,000 and $40,000.” Haywood also predicts that those costs are likely to go up. The decision to replace the boiler will come later.
The library re-opened after passing all safety inspections. According to Mayor Pro Tem Marlon Brown, the library cancelled all events until March 7, as the timeline of the repair was uncertain.
The library is now open again for regular business hours.