Navajo County, AZ – Seven youngsters are reported in good condition after a close call with carbon monoxide poisoning last weekend near Heber.
At 6:51 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 18, Navajo County Sheriffs Office deputies were called to a forest road just east of Heber regarding seven unresponsive juveniles ranging from six to 17 years of age.
According to NCSO Chief Deputy Jim Molesa, the youngsters had been riding in a camper on the back of a truck when the incident occurred. The truck had reportedly been traveling back and forth through a pond. Since the water was higher than the exhaust pipe, it prevented the carbon monoxide fumes from escaping the vehicle. The fumes became trapped inside the camper and the youngsters inhaled the fumes, causing them to lose consciousness.
Deputies who were first to arrive on the scene provided initial first aid with bag valve masks. Deputies then had to escort emergency medical crews to the scene through rough roads and terrain. The youngsters were initially transported from the scene to the Heber/Overgaard Fire Department. Melissa Ruiz, 11, Tarianna Ruiz, 6, and Desiree Daily, 6, were then transported to Summit Healthcare in Show Low and later released. Christine Ruiz, 15, and Sarina Desire Ruiz, 9, were air evacuated to Phoenix for treatment of life threatening injuries, but were later listed in good condition. Olivia Puchacz, 16, and Kule Cox, 17, did not seek medical attention and were taken by their parents.
Arthur Daily, 33, of Heber was driving the truck with Matthew Morgan, 30, also of Heber, as a passenger.