Carbon monoxide poisoning sends five to the hospital - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE; KLKNTV.com

Carbon monoxide poisoning sends five to the hospital

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By: Jenn Schanz & Bill Schammert
jschanz@klkntv.com or bschammert@klkntv.com

Lincoln Fire and Rescue crews were called to the Portia Place townhomes near 14th and Adams just after nine Wednesday morning, when several tenants started feeling sick.

"Someone said carbon monoxide and I've got two kids, it's pretty scary it being so close to my front door," Janell Ross said, who lives next door.

LFR officials say the symptoms, similar to the flu, indicated possible carbon monoxide poisoning.

The five people brought to the hospital were treated in time and do not have any serious injuries.

"Carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless and it will kill you," LFR Battalion Chief Tim Linke said. "It'll happen quickly and you may not even know it."

Fire inspectors say one of the tenants was using a charcoal grill to cook inside the apartment, causing the carbon monoxide to build up.

A detector was present, but it was unplugged.  Now, LFR is issuing some reminders.

"It can be a furnace, it can be a stove, any gas appliance. If they haven't been maintained well or haven't been installed properly by a professional installer, they can cause you some problems," Linke said.

Many tenants are reconsidering taking that extra step to ensure their safety.

"It's scary you know, to think that my kids could be in danger, in danger at any time without me even knowing," mother of six and tenant Kristy Rector said.

Carbon Monoxide detectors can be found at almost any hardware store and most big box retailers.  Typically they range in price from $20 to $40.  You can even by a dual smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector for about the same price.

Technically it's not required by law to have a carbon monoxide detector, but authorities say it is encouraged in every home and apartment.

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