Firefighters save family from carbon monoxide incident

  • Enterprise staff
  • Wednesday, April 1, 2009 12:20pm

An effort by Shoreline firefighters saved a young Shoreline family from possible carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning on March 26.

A mother and her two children were at home around 11 p.m. when one of their CO alarms was sounding. They called 9-1-1 and Shoreline Fire’s Engine 64 responded – with special equipment to detect CO levels. After about 30 minutes of investigating, and finding no detectable CO levels, they were about to declare the home safe and return to quarters.

But Lt. Dave Baker and his crew were concerned about why the alarm had originally sounded – and why the family dog was acting abnormally. They decided to test one more possible source of the carbon monoxide: the hot water heater.

Within a few minutes of starting its heating cycle, the alarms went off again and the detection device registered a lethal level of carbon monoxide coming from the hot water heater.

“This is a vivid example of why CO alarms are so important in residences and of the firefighters’ persistence in making sure this family was safe from the danger, said Melanie Granfors, Shoreline safety educator. “This mom should be commended for having the CO alarm, for realizing the dangers of exposure to the odorless gas. And, our firefighters should be commended for their persistence and thoroughness in averting a tragedy.”

Carbon monoxide can come from furnaces, water heaters, and other fuel burning appliances. It is odorless, tasteless and can cause symptoms similar to flu – such as headache, nausea and lethargy.

All homes should have CO alarms located near all sleeping rooms.

If you have questions about carbon monoxide or CO alarms, contact Shoreline Fire’s Community Education division at 206-533-6564.

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