HOUSTON (FOX 26) - “Obviously, we’ve heard the stories about officers in Austin getting sick from carbon monoxide poisoning in their vehicles,” said Joe Gamaldi with the Houston Police Officers’ Union. The situation got so bad in Austin during the summer of 2017, the police department there pulled all 446 Ford Explorers from its fleet.
In just a period of five months, 62 workers compensation reports were filed by Austin police officers for carbon monoxide exposure.
That has not been the situation in Houston.
“We have yet to have an officer who's gotten sick or had any adverse effects from any carbon monoxide,” said Gamaldi. But officers all over the U.S., including Maryland, have reportedly gotten sick from their police-issued Ford Explorer patrol vehicles.
“Over 60, perhaps up to 80 percent of our fleet of Ford Explorers have cracked manifolds, some of those cracks are less severe some of them quite severe,” said a Maryland police official. “If someone is in the vehicle using an air intake from outside air, the exhaust fumes are coming right from the crack in the manifold and entering into the driver compartment.”
Just to be on the safe side, even though no Houston Police Department officers are sick, Ford representatives are inspecting all of the police department’s sport utility vehicles.
“Even installing after-market equipment to make sure everything is safe for our officers driving those vehicles,” said Gamaldi.
It’s not known how long it will take Ford representatives to evaluate all of the HPD Explorers, but it’s not costing the city or taxpayers a dime. Ford is picking up all of the costs.