BANGOR - New poisoning concerns are starting up over Ford Explorers, specifically the Police Interceptor vehicles used by law enforcement fleets across the country.
"This is their office, they are in it eight, ten, maybe twelve hours a day," said Chief Deputy William Birch of the Penobscot County Sheriff's Office.
"There's a danger of carbon monoxide from the exhaust fumes leaking into the passenger compartment of the vehicles," said Chief Glenn Moshier of the Ellsworth Police Department.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is now expanding its probe into these vehicles after receiving thousands of complaints nationwide.
The gas can cause headaches, nausea and in some instances even a loss of consciousness.
"Carbon monoxide is nothing to really mess around with," Chief Deputy Birch said.
Every one of the vehicles in the Ellsworth Police Department's fleet are Ford Explorers.
Now, they all have carbon monoxide detectors inside.
Even though every cruiser is equipped with a carbon monoxide detector, officers in Ellsworth are told that when having the air conditioning on, they should also have the windows down as an extra precaution.
"We don't want our officers to get sick, we don't want the possibility of a driver passing out and causing a vehicle crash," said Chief Moshier.
Chief Deputy Birch at the Penobscot County Sheriff's Office experienced this first hand while in the car with the air conditioning on.
"Towards the end of the shift I was getting headaches, feeling fatigued," Chief Deputy Birch said. "I was experiencing exhaust fumes in the cab but not relating it to the carbon monoxide that comes with it. I started thinking there's something going on and it's not right with the car."
Sure enough, carbon monoxide had been leaking into the vehicle.
The Sheriff's office then decided to install detectors into their Explorers, which make up 95% of the fleet.
"Of course it's carbon monoxide, again it is a silent killer so we didn't want our officers experiencing any problems," said Chief Deputy Birch.
According to Consumer Reports, Ford has released a statement saying that if anyone has concerns about their Explorer or Police Interceptor to visit their local Ford dealership.