A father returning home discovered his wife and two children overcome by carbon monoxide at their Northside Pittsburgh home Tuesday night and managed to get to the phone to call 911.
When firefighters showed arrived at the home in the 500 block of Pressley Street in Pittsburgh's East Allegheny neighborhood shortly before 8:30 p.m., the mother and two children were unresponsive and the father was barely awake, WTAE Channel 4's Shannon Perrine reported.
Firefighters put on their breathing gear and entered the home, where an alarm sounded immediately. The father and a teenage boy were closest to the front door, and the mother and the couple's young daughter were upstairs.
"Both of them were unconscious. The mother was slumped over a bed with the child and we got them out of the structure," Pittsburgh fire Lt. Joe Janosko said.
Officials told WTAE Channel 4 Action News that the two children were taken to UPMC-Presbyterian and the mother and father were taken to Allegheny General Hospital. No identities or conditions were immediately reported. However all are expected to survive.
Doctors will monitor all four people to determine if there was any damage from the carbon monoxide poisoning.
Rescue crews checked out neighbors and their homes for carbon monoxide and they were allowed to go home.
An Equitable Gas crew has been called to the scene to assist in the investigation. Early indications suggest a malfunction in the home's heating system caused the problem.
"It's a silent killer, odorless, colorless, tasteless, and people just basically go to sleep, and that almost happened here tonight," Janosko said.
The treatment for carbon monoxide poisoning is pure oxygen from a hyperbaric chamber.
Carbon Monoxide Safety Tips
Carbon monoxide kills because red blood cells absorb it faster than oxygen. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain and confusion. People who are sleeping or intoxicated can die before they ever experience symptoms.
- Never use portable generators inside homes or garages, even if doors and windows are open. Use generators outside only, far away from the home.
- Never bring a charcoal grill into the house for heating or cooking. Do not barbeque in the garage.
- Never use a gas range or oven for heating.
- Open the fireplace damper before lighting a fire and keep it open until the ashes are cool. An open damper may help prevent build-up of poisonous gases inside the home.
- Have home heating systems (including chimneys and vents) inspected and serviced annually by a trained service technician.
- Install battery-operated CO alarms or CO alarms with battery backup in your home outside separate sleeping areas.
- Know the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning: headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, sleepiness, and confusion. If you suspect CO poisoning, get outside to fresh air immediately, and then call 911.
- Consumer Product Safety Commission
- Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless and toxic gas. Click here for more information about carbon monoxide from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
East Allegheny Family Overcome By CO Hospitalized
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