Seven people sickened by carbon monoxide

Seven people inside this home got sick from carbon monoxide / photo by Brian Erb

Seven people have been treated after being overcome by carbon monoxide early Monday morning.

Volunteer firefighters rushed to the 'poisoning' call on Cessna Drive, just across from the Sherrif's Heliport in Warners, and found the four adults and three children sitting in cars in the driveway. They'd been told to evacuate after another family member was called out for work earlier, realized he was sick and called them with the warning.

Warners Fire Chief Mike Knowlton says all his department's chiefs carry portable CO detectors. The normal reading is zero, but when they checked the house, it registered 603 parts per million. The culprit: rusted out pipes that let water heater and furnace fumes leak into the basement and then up into the home.

There was a carbon monoxide detector in the house. The fire chief says it was not plugged in."Pretty crazy, if you ask me," says Chief Knowlton. It's very inexpensive to have these things and it doesn't take much to plug it into a wall. It may be a nuisance sometimes, but when they do go off, there's probably a reason why, be it low battery or there's actually a problem in the house with CO."

The family knew there was a problem with the basement pipes, they'd tried to get help, but couldn't find any on Christmas, so sealed them themselves. They'd already made an appointment for help, to arrive at ten this morning.

For the Warners family, it's ended well: they were checked at University Hospital, and cleared to go home, and the plumber has fixed the leak. You can be sure they'll follow fire department advice: have a working carbon monoxide detector, battery operated or plug in, or a smoke-CO detector combo. As Chief Knowlton says, "You should really have something to protect you and your family."