In a case in my family, four people were exposed to carbon monoxide poisioning in an apt. Two died in one room and were dead for about 15 hours when ffighters responded, according to med examiner. The other two family members were in the next room and were semi-conscious and responded to ffighters upon entry although they were sleepy. I know no-one more than I could ever trust than firefighters so please let me ask you: How is this possible? I would understand if two died an hour ago and the other two were a bit less exposed, but we are talking 15 hours later, the two were still semi-conscious. I just want to understand better what happened so I can have some peace over this.
Have you seen any other cases such as this? What are possible causes that some people could die immediately and others not be affected nearly as much?
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Thread: Carbon Monoxide
01-24-2004, 05:00 PM #1
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- Nov 2002
01-24-2004, 05:07 PM #2
Could depend on where the CO was coming from and the exact location of the victims in reference to that. Could possibly be some pre-existing medical conditions........... Hard to say
01-24-2004, 05:25 PM #3
Every room is going to have different air flow properties. The room the surviviors were in could have had a slower buildup of CO due to location and the status of doors and windows, leaky windows, etc. Age and pre-existing medical conditions have an effect as well. However, given the 15 hour mark, I would imagine the room with the survivoirs had a much slower or less concentration that the other room. The other room might have had a direct exposure to the source.Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.
01-24-2004, 05:48 PM #4
nmfire is right. Without seeing the room, we can't argue the cause absolutely, but I suspect it was exactly that, concentration and natural ventilation that made the difference.
Perhaps one room had a window and one didn't (all windows leak slightly) or one had the door closed, and one didn't, or one was closer to the source, etc.
It is certainly conceivable for the accident to have played out as described.
I hope that provides a little piece of mind.Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!
01-24-2004, 06:10 PM #5
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- Jul 2003
To add to the concentration theory in differant rooms. You do not say what time this happened. If someone went in to go to bed at say 9pm and shut the door would anyone check on them till morning. Unless real young kids probably not. If the door to that room is getting the CO directly and it is seeping out under the door it would take longer for the concentrations to build up. It is hard to say for sure without further information as to what really happened and where the CO came from.
I have seen them in a similiar situation that I have just described.
By reading your post they were family members or close to your family and I send my condolenses.
01-24-2004, 06:52 PM #6
More questions than answers
I'm in total agreement with all who have posted before me. There are some more questions that would need to be answered for anyone to give a definitive answer on why/how this tragedy happened. Most of those have already been posed.
Two more questions come to my mind. How was the situation discovered and/or who notified emergency responders? Although I appreciate the fact that you trust firefighters to give you some answers, has anything been said or done that would make you not trust the folks doing the actual investigation?
In most CO cases I have been involved with, it's usually pretty easy to find the source of the CO. Gas leaks from faulty or failed HVAC systems or appliances are often culprits.
My advice would be to trust the findings of the investigating parties.
I hope you find the closure you're looking for. I'm sorry for your loss and I hope the surviving members of your family recover.Lt. D. Gordon
Greendale Fire Department
01-24-2004, 07:48 PM #7
- Join Date
- Nov 2002
Thank you for all your responses....it has made my mind a bit eased. To answer some of your questions, this happened at night. The estimated time of death for the 2 who died was 3-4 a.m. The others were found at 5 pm the next day and when they were shaken, they responded groggily. Both rooms had windows but both were closed. They were found when a relative got concerned about not hearing from someone and got help breaking the door down.
Due to circumstances I can't describe, I am not happy with the way the investigation went at all. I know that the huge majority of cm cases are accidental, but can I ask if any of you think if it's possible to have such an incident be purposeful? Have you ever heard of someone tampering with a boiler to make something like this happen?
01-24-2004, 07:52 PM #8
It makes sense that this was in the middle of the night and would explain why some had passed on so long before it was discovered...
01-24-2004, 09:01 PM #9
Well, anything is "possible". You just have to justify the possibility taking place with reason. Sure, someone could intentionally sabotage a furnace or water heater in a number of ways. You can clog the flu, mess with the vents and air intake, etc. But it would most likely be fairly obvious. For example, a rag shoved in the flu is kind of a give away. It will be pretty obvious if someone messed with the burner, espeically it was working fine the day before. And someone would have to get in the house, go the furnace, and screw with it, which would leave it's own traces, even if it was self-inflicted and not an intentional act of homicide. Have I ever heard of such a thing before? No and I would like to think it is pretty far reach from reality. Of course it is possible but my personal opinion is that it is highly unlikely.
I understand it is hard to cope with. It is human nature to want to find someone or something to blame in a case like this. Often, there is no one person responsible. A cullmination of factors lead up to a tragety.Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.
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