Tahoe City, CA – Nine people staying in one unit at the Chinquapin condo complex in Tahoe City were poisoned from Carbon Monoxide exposure on Monday.
After waking up feeling ill with headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting and altered levels of consciousness, all nine patients were transported by ambulance to Tahoe Forest Hospital in Truckee, according to the North Tahoe Fire Protection District.
The source of the carbon monoxide is undetermined at this time, and no carbon monoxide alarm was installed in the unit.
At first the occupants were not aware they had been poisoned by carbon monoxide, but after feeling sick, eventually called 911, said Battalion Chief Dave Ruben of the North Tahoe Fire Protection District.
Such poisonings are often seen in the North Tahoe area, Ruben said. Last year, two fatalities were attributed to the poisonous gas.
“Every winter, typically, we end up transporting people to the hospital for carbon monoxide poisoning,” Ruben said.
“[A carbon monoxide alarm] is not required by the building or fire codes, but we highly recommend it,” said Ruben. “If you have any gas appliances or a wood stove or anything like that, we highly recommend it.”
Four ambulances, one fire engine and personnel from Southwest Gas were needed to handle the incident. Apparatus and personnel from Truckee Fire Protection District, North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District and Meeks Bay Fire Protection District were also at the scene.
To prevent or catch carbon monoxide poisoning before it develops, the fire district recommended installing at least one carbon monoxide detector near sleeping areas.
They also suggested residents inspect their heating equipment annually to identify damage or malfunction, and make repairs as needed.
If you use a kerosene or gas heater, open a window slightly when the heater is in use. Generators must be used outdoors in well-ventilated areas, never inside the home or garage.
Always move vehicles out of the garage after starting the ignition. Don’t allow snow or anything else block the vents for your dryer, stove or heating equipment.