Five people hospitalized after carbon monoxide scare
January 11, 2017
VAIL — At approximately 9 a.m. Wednesday, crews from Vail Fire and Emergency Services and Eagle County Paramedic Services responded to a duplex on Vail View Drive for a report of a person not feeling well.
Upon arrival, emergency personnel found one person who was seriously ill. While treating the initial patient, four other occupants complained of not feeling well. Emergency personnel immediately evacuated all of the occupants from the building. Two patients were incapacitated and had to be physically carried out of the building. Two additional fire engines, two additional ambulances and a paramedic supervisor were called to the scene. Following treatment at the scene, all five occupants were transported to Vail Valley Medical Center.
carbon monoxide present
Suspecting possible carbon monoxide poisoning, fire personnel then re-entered the building in protective clothing and breathing apparatus to monitor for carbon monoxide. Crews found carbon monoxide readings as high as 2,000 parts per million in the building. The building did not have carbon monoxide detectors installed.
A silent killer
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless and tasteless gas which is produced by the combustion of fossil fuels, including natural gas, propane, charcoal and wood. Exposure to carbon monoxide levels above 35 parts per million for a period of two hours or more can cause flu-like symptoms, exposure to levels between 200 and 800 parts per million can cause dizziness, drowsiness and vomiting in less than an hour, exposure to levels exceeding 800 parts per million can cause unconsciousness, brain damage or death within minutes.
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Following the determination that there were dangerous levels of carbon monoxide, all three members of the first-arriving fire engine were transported to the hospital for evaluation.
The cause of the leak is under investigation.