Madison, WI – Capital Times, By Steven Elbow

Greg Simonis thought he had all the bases covered. Before firing up his gas-powered concrete saw in his basement, he opened all the windows and positioned a fan.

“It wasn’t enough,” he said today.

After cutting a block of concrete for a basement renovation project at his Monona home, Simonis spent three hours in a Milwaukee hospital’s hyperbaric chamber to get the carbon monoxide out of his blood.

He said that while he had a fan positioned to blow toward him, he didn’t have another fan sucking air out of the house.

“When I came up out of the basement I kind of knew what was wrong,” Simonis said. “But I thought I just needed some fresh air.”

After an hour, he didn’t feel any better. He called the Monona Fire Department, which advised him to get to a hospital. St. Mary’s Hospital measured high levels of carbon monoxide in his blood.

Firefighters entered his home and measured carbon monoxide levels at 50 parts per million, five times more than levels that are considered safe.

“Probably the biggest lesson I learned is to have things more than adequately ventilated,” he said.

Assistant Fire Chief Barb Tilley noted several recent carbon monoxide poisoning incidents, including the death of contractor Corey Nonn, 26, who last December used a gas-powered paint sprayer in the basement of a home he was remodeling in McFarland. Three residents of the home suffered severe carbon monoxide poisoning.