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Five go to hospital after gas problem in New Hampshire

At least five people had to go to New Hampshire hospitals for carbon monoxide exposure on Saturday due to a malfunction at a propane production plant, officials said.

At least five people had to go to New Hampshire hospitals for carbon monoxide exposure on Saturday due to a malfunction at a propane production plant, officials said.

The issue at the Liberty Utilities plant in Keene occurred at 9 a.m., and fire authorities and utility staff have been conducting door-to-door evaluations of customers, according to Keene Emergency Services.

The utility company said the issue affected propane and air mixtures, causing gas with a "high Btu content" to enter the distribution system.

"The high Btu mixture in the Keene pipeline system can potentially produce carbon monoxide at the gas appliance/burner tip in a home or business," Liberty said in a statement.

By 10 p.m., the Keene Fire Department had checked about 60 percent of the 1,250 customers affected, officials said, and firefighters had responded to more than 100 calls for service.

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Liberty said customers should be cautious of gas odors or carbon monoxide poisoning in their homes, and get fresh air if they start experiencing headaches, dizziness, nausea or spots before the eyes.

The Emergency Services department said the Red Cross had opened a warming shelter as residents had been disconnected from gas throughout the day. Liberty, however, said no customers were using it.

The National Weather Service reported that the temperature in the Keene area was slightly below freezing before midnight, at about 30 degrees Fahrenheit.

Keene is a city of some 23,000 people, about 15 miles north of the Massachusetts border.

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