A pair of properly functioning carbon monoxide (CO) detectors may have saved the life of a five-year-old girl in a single-family residence tonight.

Occupants of the ranch-style home were alerted by the simultaneous activation of the two detectors, and requested fire department assistance. Newton Abbott chief Brian Evaldi arrived on scene and performed an initial assessment of the home’s condition, discovering a concentration of 90 parts per million (ppm) of CO. Any concentration greater than 8-10 ppm is considered potentially dangerous. National Fuel was contacted to respond to the scene, as is standard when such a hazard is found.

While interviewing the occupants, who had been evacuated to the outdoors, Chief Evaldi found that a five-year-old girl was showing signs of long-term exposure to CO. As a result, EMS was summoned in addition to the fire crews which were already on scene.

Further investigation by Newton Abbott firefighters, and the National Fuel crew, showed extremely high concentrations of CO in the basement. It’s very likely that were it not for the properly functioning CO detectors, the eventual accumulation of poisonous gas on the main floor would have seriously threatened the lives of the occupants, particularly the child.

Carbon Monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas which results from incomplete combustion of certain materials, and is a common byproduct of furnaces and hot water tanks. Very small amounts in the atmosphere immediately surrounding these appliances is common. However, as parts wear out or corrode, exhaust can escape, creating a household hazard. It is imperative that homeowners install a CO detector on each floor of a residence, and maintain them in accordance with manufacturer specifications.

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