KS City, KS – By TONY RIZZO, The Kansas City Star

Five members of a Kansas City family were hospitalized Sunday morning after they were overcome by carbon monoxide fumes in their home.

All were expected to recover.

A woman, her two daughters and two nieces were running a gasoline-powered generator in the basement of their home in the 5300 block of Garfield Avenue when one of the younger women called 911 shortly after 1:30 a.m., according to Eric Dooley, a spokesman for MAST.

She had a severe headache and noticed other occupants behaving strangely when she decided to call, said Dooley of the Metropolitan Ambulance Services Trust.

They were apparently using the generator for heat and electricity.“You should never run a gas engine indoors,” Dooley said.

Carbon monoxide is odorless and tasteless, and symptoms such as headache, nausea and shortness of breath aren’t always apparent. Dooley noted that only one of the five family members felt sick.

“Sometimes you don’t know it’s there until it’s too late,” he said. “You may not know you’re being overcome.”

Although Sunday’s incident involved a generator, Dooley said an increase of carbon monoxide poisoning is typical in the fall when furnaces are being turned on. The same deadly gases are emitted and must be properly vented.

“It’s always a good idea to have your furnace checked beforehand,” he said.

Carbon monoxide detectors also can be purchased and, like smoke detectors, should be checked regularly