An 82-year-old man was taken to a local hospital about noon Thursday after he was exposed to carbon monoxide in his home. Fire officials said the detector that alerted him saved his life.
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless toxic gas that could be fatal if exposed to it long enough.
According to fire reports, firefighters responded to the call on the 600 block of St. Joseph at 11:42 a.m. Thursday after the homeowner called authorities through the Life Alert. Firefighters evacuated the owner from his house and monitored the home. The monoxide equipment showed a rating of 52 parts per million. The maximum exposure over an eight-hour period should not exceed 35 parts per million, fire officials said.
“In this particular case, we couldn’t determine the source of the CO (carbon monoxide),” said fire chief Dean Van Nest.
The owner was taken to CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Alice for precautionary measures, but was expected to do well.
In this case, the resident had a gas stove, a gas heater and a gas dryer, officials said. Firefighters ventilated the home and shut off the utilities.
Van Nest said because of the high levels of CO, his firefighters who were monitoring the gases inside the home wore air packs and carried monitor machines.
Van Nest said during the winter months, some residents use improper heat sources that can lead to carbon monoxide.
“They are using their heaters or bringing in heat sources that are not normally used inside the home,” he said. “It’s like running your car in the garage with the garage doors closed, which you should never do.”
Some of the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are headaches, dizziness, disorientation, nausea and fatigue.
Van Nest said that this was the first case of carbon monoxide that he recalls in the four years he has been fire chief.
Van Nest said when using a gas product as a heating source, the flame should always be color ed blue. Any other color such as orange or red signifies that some form of gas is escaping, he said.
“Everybody that can afford it and has a stove, heater or furnace that uses gas should purchase a CO monitor,” Van Nest said. “I think there are two things every house should have, a smoke alarm and a carbon monoxide detector.”