Fleet Maintenance Finds New Carbon Monoxide Danger to JPD Vehic - FOX 14 TV Joplin and Pittsburg News Weather Sports |

Fleet Maintenance Finds New Carbon Monoxide Danger to JPD Vehicles

Joplin, MO -

Joplin police and other departments using Ford Explorers work to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
 But Joplin’s fleet maintenance crew discovered it's more than just muffler and tailpipe trouble.

Joplin police and other law enforcement  spend lots of time in their cars often while they are idling.  And for some, that was making them sick.
Several Joplin officers recently  reported dizziness, strong odors and for one, even vomiting, so investigations began.

Captain Trevor Duncan said the first mystery solved did not involve carbon monoxide. He explained, "A battery  basically melted and exploded  on the engine which  sent fumes back into the officers vehicle."
While that explained the vomiting case, it didn’t others. So Joplin police contacted Ford about national carbon monoxide issues with Explorers. The manufacturer recommended outfitting  the entire fleet with curved tailpipe extensions.

Capt. Duncan said, "We've done that to eighteen of our twenty-two Explorers at this point. We’re getting the last four done  through the muffler shop."

As an added precaution,  the department also installed carbon monoxide detectors in all  Explorers. But even after adding extensions to the tailpipes one alarm sounded. They sent  the car to the city maintenance garage where a new problem was discovered.


Capt. Duncan said, "There's a couple of what they call  body plugs that had deteriorated to the point that they were allowing exhaust to come into the cabin."

Fleet maintenance supervisor Bob Johnson showed us  where those plugs are supposed to go, on the undercarriage just above the muffler. But they wouldn’t stay in the vehicle.  
Johnson explained, "What  happens is the heat from the exhaust deteriorates it from the  heat  until it comes loose and falls out."

Picking up one of the plastic plugs we said, “It’s crumbling . Yeah,  it  crumbled. It’s like ash."

The heat generated in an officers car which is run more regularly might not be the same as in a consumer model of the vehicle which is different. So, it is not clear if the problem could occur for citizens.
Johnson tried to order new plugs but Ford said the replacement plugs  are back ordered.
Johnson said the entire fleet will be rechecked and he's coming up with a solution to prevent future problems.
Johnson said, "I’ve ordered special tape that has a five hundred degree   barrier. Between that plastic plug and the tailpipe, hopefully that will stop."

For now anytime a detector sounds the Explorer is sidelined.
Capt. Duncan explained, "Our officers’ safety is the number one priority and we don’t want anyone officers to be subjected to chemicals or odors that could cause them health issues."

     Johnson said Ford claims the carbon monoxide problem comes from installers of extra police equipment. 
The tailpipe extensions and installation cost thirty-five to forty dollars per car.
          Carl junction added tailpipe extensions to one of its vehicles.


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