After a carbon monoxide leak was detected overnight in one of the Austin Police Department's newly repaired Ford Police Interceptors, Interim Police Chief Brian Manley said the leak appears to have been a false alarm.
City workers have conducted additional testing on the vehicle and found that two alarms may have caused alerts overnight because of some other reason. Chief Manley said that workers no longer believe the alert was due to carbon monoxide, though he said officials are still investigating.
"A Ford Police Interceptor we believed to have leaked carbon monoxide into the passenger area did not," said Chief Manley. "We do not believe this issue is a Ford issue or related to the repairs they have done on our vehicles."
The city pulled more than 400 Ford Police Interceptor SUVs in late July due to carbon monoxide alarms going off. In recent weeks, Ford said they were working with the City of Austin to make repairs and had developed a system to get 20 SUVs back to the city each week. Interim Police Chief Brian Manley confirmed KVUE and the Austin American-Statesman’s Tony Plohetski the vehicle involved in the incident early Friday was one of the first three the city had received. Officials told KVUE and the Statesman said the officer was treated by paramedics at the scene and did not need to be taken to the hospital.
An initial cause for the carbon monoxide leaks has not been determined. Ford said it is due to modifications made to the vehicles by police departments, and the city said it believes Ford is to blame. The issue arose in March after an APD sergeant became seriously ill from carbon monoxide poisoning, and he is still off duty due to his illness.
Ford released the following statement:
"Safety is our top priority. We have been happy to collaborate with Austin PD on repairs to their Police Interceptors. Ford was not provided with information on the levels of CO detected but we are ready to inspect any vehicle. The methods and parts we’ve utilized to repair Austin’s vehicles have worked well to address the concern."
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This story will be updated as more information becomes available.