According to media reports, firefighters removed a mother and three children-suffering the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning-from their Hyde Park home on Monday morning, and transported them to a local hospital. Apparently, the family had contacted the Boston fire department on Sunday night because the family’s carbon monoxide detector had gone off. Upon reaching the house, however, the fire department’s meter did not read any levels of carbon monoxide inside, so the department advised the family to replace the battery in its detector.
On Monday morning, however, the mother and her three children all felt sick, and were removed from the house and taken to the hospital. The four individuals are expected to return home from Mass General Hospital on Monday night. An investigation into whether the fire department’s detector was faulty or malfunctioning is being conducted.
According the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), carbon monoxide can kill people before they are even aware of its presence, since it is a colorless and odorless gas. At low concentrations, the gas can cause dizziness, chest pain, fatigue, nausea, headaches, and flu-like symptoms. At higher levels, it can cause loss of consciousness, impaired vision, angina, and death. However, symptoms vary not only upon level of concentration, but also upon length of exposure to the gas as well as a person’s age and health.
Carbon monoxide is most frequently produced by engine fumes, wood and kerosene heaters, charcoal grills, and motor vehicle exhaust. To reduce the risk of exposure to toxic fumes, the EPA urges people to turn off cars when inside the garage, and to carefully check gas appliances, wood stoves, and central heating systems to ensure proper maintenance and ventilation.
Property owners have the responsibility to ensure their premises are safe, which includes ensuring proper protections against carbon monoxide poisoning are in place. Along with an owner’s family to monitor and maintain carbon monoxide safety, carbon monoxide exposure and poisoning can result from defectively manufactured detectors that fail to go off. If you or a loved one has suffered from carbon monoxide exposure and/or poisoning, contact a Boston personal injury lawyer today to seek justice and recovery.
Mother, three children from Hyde Park taken to hospital after carbon monoxide exposure, Boston.com, January 23, 2012
Carbon monoxide drives four from Hyde Park home, Boston Herald, January 23, 2012