By MIKE BILLINGTON – A pregnant Wilmington woman and her 7-year-old twins were hospitalized Friday night, suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Wilmington Fire Department spokesman Capt. Michael Schaal said the woman and her two children were rushed to Wilmington Hospital for treatment after complaining of nausea, headaches, and flu-like symptoms, all signs of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Firefighters were sent to a two-story building in the 2200 block of Washington St. when residents in the second-floor apartment noticed their carbon-monoxide detector had gone off about 6:33 p.m.

“The residents of the first-floor apartment did not have a carbon-monoxide detector,” Schaal said. “If the residents in the second floor apartment did not have one, this could have turned into a very serious incident.”

Firefighters under the command of Battalion Chief Michael Donohue used meters to detect the amount of carbon monoxide present in both apartments, Schaal said.

Readings were found at 58 parts per million. Acceptable levels in a residence must be below 9 parts per million, Schaal said.

The residents of the second-floor apartment did not feel any ill effects from the carbon monoxide, Schaal said.

“I believe that they had just arrived home when they noticed that their detector had gone off,” he said.

Schaal said that Conectiv employees who also responded to the scene determined the heaters for both apartments were defective. The heaters were shut down, Schaal said, and the case was turned over to the city’s Licenses and Inspection Department for correction.

Carbon-monoxide poisoning can be fatal. Federal statistics show that unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning kills an average of 2,700 people each year in the United States. About 1,150 of those deaths are not fire-related, statistics show.

International tennis star Vitas Gerulaitis is among those who have been killed by residential carbon monoxide poisoning. He died in his sleep in September 1994 in Long Island, N.Y.