A North Huntingdon Township couple are being treated for carbon monoxide poisoning after a faulty furnace leaked the gas into their home this morning.
Stephen and Dawn Eperthener were taken by ambulance from their Roth Drive home after Stephen managed to call 911 just before 8 a.m.
Stephen Eperthener told dispatchers that he believed he and his wife were suffering the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning, according to Circleville volunteer firefighter Nick Janosek.
After the 911 call, Eperthener called his son Victor, 20, a Circleville firefighter, to tell him about what was going on and to make sure firefighters got the family dog, Rocky, out of the house.
Victor Eperthener reported to the station and responded to his parents’ home with his fellow firefighters.
“He got on the truck, and I was driving the truck and he kind of poked his head out and said, ‘That’s my parents’ house. My dad called me,'” Janosek said.
When fire crews arrive, paramedics already were treating the couple. Janosek said Dawn Eperthener was unconscious in the living room. Her husband was walking outside and collapsed.
Firefighters discovered a carbon monoxide level of 870 parts per million in the basement. At that level of exposure, a person would die within one to four hours, Janosek said.
Firefighters began venting the couple’s home. They then discovered a natural gas leak at the furnace.
Because of the potential for fire or explosion from the natural gas, firefighters stayed outside the home until gas company crews arrived to shut off the gas.
The carbon monoxide was coming from an 8-to-10-inch hole in the metal vent pipe for the furnace flue, Janosek said.
“Instead of the fumes going outside of the house for the furnace, it was going right into the house,” he said.
Janosek said both Epertheners were conscious as they were transported to Excela Health Westmoreland Regional Hospital for treatment.
“Victor was able to talk to them before they left for the hospital,” he said.
Rocky, the dog, was conscious but acting strangely, so firefighters gave him oxygen and took him to a veterinarian as a precaution.