Cape Girardeau, MO- Heartland News,CJ Cassidy

It’s dangerous and can threaten you in your own home.

Cape Girardeau County Coroner John Clilfton says carbon monoxide poisoning killed 81-year-old Bette Wiist of Cape Girardeau.

Police say it happened this weekend, after Wiist accidentally left her car’s engine running in the garage for several hours, and fumes seeped into her home through air vents.

Robert Flesher was among the first to find his elderly neighbor dead inside her home.

“You could smell the exhaust from a vehicle or something, and the vehicle was running,:” he recalled.

Authorities believe the car was left running for several hours; something Cape Girardeau Asst. Fire Chief Mark Hasheider says is especially dangerous, inside an enclosed area.

To give you an idea of just how quickly carbon monoxide levels can rise, firefighters agreed to carry out an experiment leaving a detector inside a garage with a car running and the doors closed. Remember that can be very dangerous, not something you should try at home.

Even in this case, we had to make sure everyone was out of the building first.

Within just a couple of minutes the carbon monoxide levels inside the garage jumped as high as 78 parts per million. Hashieder says exposing yourself to anything over 35 parts per million can prove to be dangerous, even deadly.

Bette Wiist’s neighbors say they never considered a carbon monoxide detector before, but now, that’ll change.

“I’ll look into it. It was an accident and it could happen to anybody,” Flesher says.

Experts say typically children, older people and anyone who’s sick can be more susceptible to carbon monoxide once it enters their bodies.

Firefighters say besides your car’s exhaust, carbon monoxide can also seep into your home if you have a gas stove or furnace.

If you suspect you have a problem, throw open your doors and windows, get out of the building, and call 911 for help.