The Putnam Examiner

Two Carmel Women Saved from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

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Local emergency first responders jumped into action on Nov. 13 resulting in the rescue of two Carmel residents that were rendered unconscious by carbon monoxide poisoning, the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office revealed last week.

At about noon, a 61-year-old woman was texting with her daughter, but when those texts became incoherent, the daughter became concerned and tried to call her mother. When the mother didn’t pick up, the daughter called a friend to check on the welfare of her mother and grandmother in the house, according to the sheriff’s office.

The friend went to the house and heard the sound of a carbon monoxide alarm ringing inside and could see the 89-year-old grandmother lying unconscious on the floor in a bedroom near the front door. She quickly called 911 and within a few minutes, Carmel Police officers, Carmel Fire Department firefighters and a sheriff’s deputy arrived at a single-family residence on North Gate Road, police said.

The first responders worked together to locate the two victims and carried them both out of the house. The 61-year-old victim was in a back bedroom and the 89-year-old victim was in a front bedroom, according to police.

Two of the officers that went into the home reported feeling light-headed in the aftermath and were given oxygen, according to the sheriff’s office.

“They acted heroically, with disregard for their own safety, and thereby saved two lives,” said Sheriff Don Smith.

First responders from the county’s bureau of emergency services and other volunteer departments also responded to the scene to assist.

The two women were rushed to Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla and were treated for apparent carbon monoxide poisoning and are expected to recover, according to authorities.

“The two women are very fortunate to be alive,” said Carmel Police Chief Michael Cazzari. “Had the woman not received the garbled texts or, even having received them, had she not acted swiftly on her concern by having the friend check on her mother and grandmother, the victims would have eventually succumbed to the poison gas.”

Readings taken in the house indicated a concentration level of carbon monoxide gas in the air of 1,800 parts per million (PPM), according to the Carmel Fire Department. Officials believe that the high level of carbon monoxide gas in the home was the result of a faulty connection in an exhaust pipe leading from a propane gas burner used to heat the home, the sheriff’s office said. It seems that the faulty connection in the pipe allowed the exhaust gases from the burner to be pumped inside the house, instead of going outside. Town of Carmel building department inspectors were called to check the propane burner and exhaust system to ensure that the defect was fixed and safe, according to authorities.

Human exposure to 1,200 ppm of carbon monoxide in the air for one hour can be fatal, according to some government studies, considering the typical home has carbon monoxide readings from 3 to 6 ppm.

Carmel Fire Chief David DiRienzo explained that carbon monoxide gas is odorless and colorless making it hard to detect without a monitor. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning may include a reddened face, blurred vision, dull headache, weakness, dizziness, nausea or vomiting, shortness of breath, confusion, and loss of consciousness.

According to the sheriff’s press release, DiRienzo said residents should make sure they have a working carbon monoxide and smoke detector in their homes and everyone should be sure to replace batteries regularly and check the expiration dates on the devices.



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