Putnam Township, MI – A Putnam Township man died Monday at his home due to carbon-monoxide poisoning, police said.
Hamburg Township Police Chief Steve Luciano said family members found 68-year-old Philip Peter Phillips lying unconscious on the kitchen floor of
his home in the 11000 block of Eriksen Drive at about 12:30 p.m. His cat, Snickers, was lying next to him.
Rescue crews were unable to revive Phillips, but Snickers, who was given oxygen, was saved and is undergoing treatment at a local veterinarian
“We think it was a faulty furnace or (the) chimney or flue was blocked,” Luciano explained.
The police chief said Phillips’ wife reported the couple both experienced headaches and nausea – two of the most common symptoms of poisoning – Sunday
night. On Monday morning, the victim’s wife left the home. She is reportedly recovering from the exposure she experienced, and is staying with friends or relatives.
Firefighters recorded carbon monoxide levels at 400 parts per million. More than 50 ppm is considered toxic while a safe level is below 9 ppms, and the desired level is zero, Luciano said.
Firefighters were able to circulate fresh, clean air into the Phillipses home and recorded zero levels of carbon monoxide. However, when the furnace was turned on again, the levels began to rise, Luciano said.
The furnace was about seven years old while the remainder of the home had new windows and was rebuilt in 2000 after a fire.
After the fire, “most everything was replaced, except the furnace,” Luciano said. “It was air tight and that may have played a part in it.”
Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless gas. It is a common byproduct of the combustion of fossil fuels and is potentially fatal when it enters the
human blood stream.
Carbon monoxide leaks most often stem from malfunctioning or uncleaned furnaces, water heaters or other fuel-burning appliances. The Phillips’ home had a natural gas furnace.
Luciano recommends that citizens protect themselves and their families from carbon monoxide poisoning by installing detectors. The Phillips home did not have a carbon monoxide detector.