Ashland, MA- A carbon monoxide scare on West Mountain Lane has Ashland Fire Lt. David Iarussi reminding people about the importance of checking their detectors this winter.
“Its a really important story in my eyes,” Iarussi said of a 911 call the department received at 5:47 a.m. Friday.
Iarussi said a homeowner on West Mountain Lane reported his carbon monoxide detector was sounding. When he got to the home, Iarussi said he had the caller, his wife and their three daughters wait in their car as he checked searched the building.
After finding nothing in the basement, Iarussi said he discovered meter readings of 101 parts per million in the family room next to a wood-burning stove.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, carbon monoxide levels above 70 ppm can lead to headache, fatigue and nausea, while sustained levels above 150 ppm can cause disorientation, unconsciousness and death.
In the last week, eight people have died as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning following an ice storm that hit the Midwest, Northeast and Canada.
“Its the silent killer,” Iarussi said of the odorless gas, remarking he was very glad the family had a hard-wired detector and that no one became ill.
Iarussi said the call underscores the importance of homeowners making sure they have working fire and carbon monoxide detectors before the winter.
“Had that alarm not gone off, it could have turned out worse,” he said. Iarussi said while he believes the wood-burning stove led to the elevated levels, the department is still working to conclude what exactly went wrong, as it did not seem to be malfunctioning.
Iarussi said in addition to making sure they have detectors, homeowners also need to take the time to learn what all the different beeps mean. Some beeps could just mean low battery, he said, while others could sound the alarm on potentially deadly levels of carbon monoxide.
Iarussi also recommended homeowners take a walk around their homes after snowstorms to make sure none of their vents are blocked. A blocked vent can force dangerous gases like carbon monoxide back into a home, he said.
“This time of the year, you really have to watch out for it,” he said. “I always want to see zero on that meter.”