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June 15, 2019 | 6:02pm
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4 hospitalized – including 2 kids, for carbon monoxide poisoning

4 family members were hospitalized this morning, including 2 children, for apparent carbon monoxide poisoning at a house in the 6600 block of Church Road.

Firefighters were called to the 6600 block of Church Road about 1:50am this morning, Monday, January 21st, for a report of carbon monoxide poisoning with multiple patients.

According to Whatcom County Fire District 7 Division Chief Ben Boyko, when they arrived they found two families living in the home, one upstairs and the other downstairs. An adult woman downstairs had been taken ill and an adult male called 911 after she became unresponsive.

All 4 of the downstairs residents were removed from the house, evaluated and treated by firefighters and then transported.

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The 2 adults were transported to PeaceHealth St Joseph’s Medical Center in serious condition and 2 children were transported in stable condition, Boyko said.

The 2 adults living upstairs were also evaluated and released but were advised to stay out of the house until it could be inspected and the carbon monoxide source identified and repaired. They were released to stay with friends, Boyko said.

Fire department monitors confirmed the presence of high levels of carbon monoxide according to Boyko. As a result, firefighters wore full protective gear including self-contained breathing apparatus while removing the patients and investigating and ventilating the building.

2 family dogs were also removed and 1 appeared lethargic and was given oxygen by firefighters. The Whatcom County Humane Society was contacted to care for the animals.

The boiler was suspected to be the source of the carbon monoxide according to Boyko and firefighters secured the gas and power supply lines to it.

No functional carbon monoxide alarms were thought to be in place since no audible alarm could be heard according to Boyko.

Boyko said, “We are grateful that we were able to assist this family today and that they were able to call for help early. The outcome could have been much worse if they had all fallen asleep.”

According to the Washington State Department of Health,

Carbon monoxide, or CO, is a poisonous gas that cannot be seen or smelled and can kill a person in minutes. Carbon monoxide can quickly build up to unsafe levels in enclosed or semi-enclosed areas. Common initial symptoms are headache, dizziness, fatigue, weakness, confusion, and nausea. Low-level carbon monoxide poisoning can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms are like other illnesses, such as the flu.

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  1. Thank you for the timely tips about CO2 which help others avoid poisoning in the future. If the home is a rental the premises should be supplied with working CO2 and smoke detectors.

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