Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Sends Eight To The Hospital

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FLORISSANT, MO (KTVI)--A carbon monoxide scare nearly made this a tragic Mothers Day. Eight people were hospitalized after carbon monoxide filled a Florissant home, said Deputy Chief Rick Ruhmann, of the Florissant Valley Fire Protection District.

He said there was no actual CO 'leak', but a set of factors almost made for a deadly mix. Take heed.

Firefighters weren’t sure what woke the mother in the 3500 block of Stonehaven just before 8:00 Mothers Day morning.  Thankfully it did.

“The mother woke up and noticed the occupants, children and other occupants were not acting normally; opened up the windows and turned on the attic fan and started removing people from the house... it was a close call.  We’re keeping our fingers crossed for the victims,” Ruhmann said.

He said the mother and seven others ranging from their teens to just a year old were conscious but lethargic when help arrived.

Firefighters immediately found elevated CO levels.  Further testing with a Laclede Gas worker pinpointed the conditions that likely led to the problem.

When they “recreated” those conditions, the findings were alarming. The attic fan and the furnace were running at the same time. That was a potentially deadly combination, Ruhmann said.

“The levels went up as fast as we’ve ever seen them go up. It’s a very bad thing to run your attic fan at the same time your furnace is on with the windows closed up. With the attic fan on and then this furnace kicked on, it caused a down drafting of the gases, which made the carbon monoxide levels inside the residence greatly increase,” Ruhmann said.  “That high for any amount of time, could be fatal yes.  They were very lucky.”

He said all of the victims were expected to recover after receiving extensive oxygen treatment at area hospitals.

He also stressed the importance of having carbon monoxide detectors.  This home did not have any.

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