A Salt Lake City family of six was rushed to the hospital Monday morning after emergency medical responders found them sick inside a home that registered dangerously high levels of carbon monoxide.
Salt Lake City Fire Department spokesman Jasen Asay said the parents called 911 at 5:09 a.m., reporting that they and another adult and three children, ages 19 months, 8 and 9 years, had been feeling sick with “flu-like symptoms” for several days.
Paramedic firefighters and a hazardous materials unit were dispatched to the home at 457 E. Redondo Ave. (1995 South). All six family members were conscious when taken by ambulance to the hospital, where they underwent hyperbaric chamber, oxygen-enrichment treatment for carbon monoxide poisoning.
Questar personnel called to the scene determined the source of the carbon monoxide was a natural gas-fueled water heater. Asay said the water heater was deactivated and will need to be replaced.
The family did not have carbon monoxide detectors in the home, Asay said.
“This is a scary thing. Our paramedics said they called just in time, that any longer in that house could have been a very serious, even fatal situation,” Asay said, noting that carbon monoxide levels were recorded at 4,000 parts per million; anything over 25-35 ppm during an eight-hour period is considered dangerous.
“This level of carbon monoxide was extremely high,” Asay said, adding that it is easy for people to assume they are suffering from the flu, since symptoms like nausea, headaches and lethargy are common to both the flu and initial carbon monoxide poisoning.
“This is a reminder for the public, especially now that cold weather has begun and they are using furnaces and other [natural gas] appliances, about the need for having carbon monoxide detectors,” Asay said.