De Soto, MO – Five people became ill while using a generator in their home July 14 in rural De Soto. The generator had filled the house in the 3100 block of Flucom Road with carbon monoxide, De Soto Rural Fire Chief Paul Mayer reports.

“Their power was out and they bought a generator,” he said. “They didn’t want it to get stolen, so they brought it in the house.”

Family members started feeling ill and called for an ambulance.

Emergency personnel suggested that family members call the fire district to test carbon monoxide levels in the house.

Mayer said De Soto Rural used its monitor and found a dangerous level of carbon monoxide in the home. Firefighters ventilated the house by opening windows and using fans to disperse the gas.

“It doesn’t take long for something like that to occur,” Mayer said. “The important thing is not to run a generator indoors, and if you are running a generator indoors and begin to feel ill, identify right away that it could be the generator.”

Mayer said running a car in the garage also can fill a home with carbon monoxide.

He said people should be aware of the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, which can be fatal:

■ Lethargy.

■ A headache.

■ Reddish skin color.

Mayer said carbon monoxide has a cumulative effect on the body and cannot be cleared from the body by getting fresh air.

“It’s important to recognize the symptoms early and get medical attention,” Mayer said.

Although family members called an ambulance when they began to feel ill, after emergency medical personnel checked them out, they were driven to an area hospital in a private car.

The De Soto Rural Fire Protection District has smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors and provides the units to residents for free, Mayer said.

“If people need them, we have them, thanks to a grant from the Jefferson Memorial Community Foundation,” he said.