Tom O’Konowitz Daily Herald Staff Writer

Dangerous levels of carbon monoxide in an Elgin woman’s home sent her to the hospital Friday with symptoms of carbon-monoxide poisoning, Elgin firefighter said.

The woman, who lives on the 300 block of North Street on Elgin’s near west side, called firefighters about 11 a.m. after suffering a headache and suspecting her house might have a carbon monoxide problem.

Elgin firefighters arrived and immediately took the woman out of the house. They then used special equipment to detect the carbon monoxide level in the house at 300 to 550 parts per million, according to fire Lt. Greg Benson.

That’s high, considering a carbon-monoxide level of 400 parts per million can kill a person after eight hours of exposure, Benson said.

The woman’s injuries were not believed to be life-threatening. The Elgin Fire Department reported that the carbon-monoxide leak in the North Street house likely was caused by the furnace, which could have had a plugged flue or a cracked part. The house was not equipped with a carbon-monoxide detector.

The fire department on Friday urged residents to buy carbon- monoxide detectors. They loudly alert residents if the poisonous gas has reached unsafe levels in their house.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, carbon monoxide kills about 300 people in their homes each year. The colorless and odorless gas is produced by fuel-burning equipment and appliances, such as furnaces, heaters, charcoal grills, water heaters, cars and fireplaces. Carbon monoxide can leak into the house if there’s a malfunction or break in the equipment.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission says carbon-monoxide poisoning, while deadly at high levels, can cause symptoms including dizziness, fatigue,headache, nausea and irregular breathing.

If you suspect carbon-monoxide poisoning, the Elgin Fire Department suggests you leave your house and call 911.