Lebanon, ME – Emergency crews on both sides of the border warn people to be careful with emergency power and heating equipment after three residents at an Austin Mill Road home were transported to Goodall Hospital in Sanford for possible carbon monoxide exposure Friday night.
Lebanon firefighters and members of the Rescue Department, who responded just before 9 p.m., found four residents sitting in a car outside the home. Three of them a 35-year-old woman, a 7-year-old son and a 3-year-old daughter showed symptoms similiar to carbon monoxide exposure while a 33-year-old man was signed off at the scene, according to a release by the Rescue Department.
“They had been without power since late Thursday night and had been running a generator all day,” said Assistant Rescue Chief Jason Cole, adding even though the generator was running in an enclosed area outside the residence, carbon monoxide a colorless, odorless gas could have entered the home through a conduit.
Cole said in the release that the generator had been running since 4:30 p.m. and the carbon monoxide detector went off around 8:15 p.m. in the residence. He added the family called for emergency services after attempting to ventilate the house for about 45 minutes.
“The positive thing about this incident was that the family had a working carbon monoxide detector,” Cole said in the release.
Firefighters obtained readings of up to 8 parts per million in the residence and 150 parts per million in the area where the generator was running, Cole said in the release.
“We urge everyone to use extreme caution with generators and any alternative heating source while the power is out,” Cole said in the release. “We strongly urge all residences to have working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors with back up batteries. They do save lives.”
New Hampshire Fire Marshal Bill Degnan reminded residents of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning, which can kill or injure people attempting to keep the lights on or stay warm.
“Generators are a common source of unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning in New Hampshire,” Degnan said in a release Friday.
“When using a generator have it at least 10 feet from your home with the exhaust facing away from the house. Never run a generator inside of any building, including a garage with an open door. Carbon monoxide is the silent killer. You cannot see, taste or smell carbon monoxide, but it can cause severe health problems or death,” Degnan said in the release, stressing the importance of having working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in homes, especially near sleeping areas.