SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash --- Some Washington State Patrol cars have been leaking carbon monoxide and endangering the troopers inside them. Has this problem been happening on the east side of the state?
Several officers across the country have reported feeling sick while driving Ford Explorer SUV’s. In Washington state two troopers were hospitalized for possible carbon monoxide exposure. The two were hospitalized in western Washington, and we wanted to see if anyone on the east side is feeling these effects.
WSP said they have had no reports of problems on our side of the state. They are aware of the issue though because they do have some of these cars in their fleet. The WSP has 645 Ford Interceptors and Explorers in its fleet.
The problem is reportedly coming from holes in the vehicle that are not sealed, so carbon monoxide is leaking into the cabs. Those holes that are not sealed come from when law enforcement customizes the vehicles to add lighting, radios and other equipment.
The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office has some of these same vehicles too, but they do not add some of the same customizations that other departments do. They said they are not having any problems with carbon monoxide exposure. The Spokane Police Department said there are only eight of these vehicles in the fleet and six of them are in service, so they are installing carbon monoxide detectors in those six vehicles.
SPD said they are working with the City garage and Ford to make the repairs, but they said no officers have reported feeling sick. They also said it seems to only affect the SUV’s with front and back air conditioning.
Here is a statement from the Ford company addressing this issue.
"Safety is our top priority. We continue to investigate. We have not found elevated levels of carbon monoxide in non-Police Ford Explorers. To address police customers who drive modified vehicles in unique ways, we are covering the costs of specific repairs in every Police Interceptor Utility that may have carbon monoxide concerns, regardless of modifications made after leaving Ford’s factory.
Ford dealers will check and seal off the rear of the vehicle where exhaust can enter, update the air conditioning to bring in more fresh air during heavy acceleration typical of police driving and check for engine codes that could indicate a damaged exhaust manifold.
We continue to investigate. We have not found elevated levels of carbon monoxide in non-Police Ford Explorers.
We have tested Police Interceptor Utilities with exhaust odor concerns, finding variable levels of carbon monoxide, depending on how well the rear of the vehicle was sealed after installation of police equipment.
Unsealed holes can allow exhaust gases to enter the vehicle during aggressive acceleration and high speed driving unique to police use.
If a customer believes their vehicle may be experiencing an issue, they should bring it to a Ford dealer for inspection. Customers also can call a dedicated hotline at 888-260-5575."