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Originally published: 2013-07-10 13:17:35
Last modified: 2013-07-10 13:18:19

Firefighters respond to carbon monoxide call

Firefighters responded to a Boone home Tuesday afternoon after a gas-powered pump filled the residence with high levels of carbon monoxide, according to the Boone Fire Department.

No one was seriously injured or killed in the incident.

A woman called 911 around 4:30 p.m. after carbon monoxide detectors began sounding in a rented home in the 300 block of Jefferson Road/N.C. 194, said Capt. Mike Teague of the Boone Fire Department.

The woman told responders that a gas-powered pump had been running in the basement to remove water due to recent flooding, Teague said.

Firefighters responded within two minutes and began monitoring the carbon monoxide levels and ventilating the space, he said. The pump had been removed by the time the fire department arrived, he said.

Teague would not say exactly what levels of carbon monoxide were detected in the house.

"They were extremely high in the basement and very high in the living area," he said.

Firefighters stayed on the scene for exactly two hours and allowed the tenant and her roommates to re-enter the home after meters showed that carbon monoxide levels had returned to a safe range, he said.

Teague said he could not say whether the woman experienced health problems due to HIPAA requirements, but no one was taken to the hospital.

He said the call was an example of what residents should do if they suspect the presence of carbon monoxide. He noted that the tenant originally questioned whether to call 911 when the alarms sounded.

"She went ahead and called, and I'm glad she did," Teague said, adding that dispatchers instructed her to leave the home.

The house had multiple carbon monoxide detectors, all of which functioned properly during the incident, he said.

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that can cause injury or death. At low concentrations, the toxic gas can cause fatigue or chest pain. At higher concentrations, symptoms include impaired vision, headaches, dizziness, confusion or nausea.

Authorities have said carbon monoxide was responsible for the deaths of three people at the Best Western hotel in Boone during April and June. Preliminary investigations showed that a poorly maintained pool water heater caused the gas to enter room 225 through the air conditioning unit and the gas fireplace area, officials have said.

The deaths of Daryl and Shirley Jenkins of Washington on April 16 and the death of 11-year-old Jeffrey Williams of South Carolina on June 8 led to pleas for new laws requiring carbon monoxide detectors in North Carolina hotels.

Boone Police Capt. Andy Le Beau said Monday that the police investigation of the Best Western hotel may conclude next week with the presentation of findings to District Attorney Jerry Wilson.