Norristown Family Hospitalized for Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Two adults and four children were taken to Einstein Medical Center Montgomery early Monday morning after authorities discovered high levels of CO in their home.
A family of six were hospitalized this morning after authorities discovered dangerously high levels of carbon monoxide (CO) in their apartment in the 400 block of West Marshall Street.
Authorities responded to the scene sometime around 3 a.m. Monday morning after the family called 9-1-1 to report that the two adults and four children were suffering from nausea and headaches. Once on the scene, emergency medical technicians realized the family may be suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning and alerted the fire department.
According to Norristown Fire Chief Thomas O'Donnell, detectors revealed that CO levels in the apartment were dangerously high – as much as 600 parts per million.
"Some people will tell you anywhere between zero and 9 or 12 are safe levels of carbon monoxide," said Chief O'Donnell. "The safe level of carbon monoxide in a home is zero in my opinion."
The family were transported to Einstein Medical Center Montgomery, where they are reportedly in stable condition.
The cause of the high CO levels was apparently a blockage in a fireplace inside the apartment.
"We think it might have been caused by a blocked chimney flue," said Chief O'Donnell.
The owner of the building arrived on the scene shortly after the fire department, and according to Chief O'Donnell, offered to find housing for the family while any needed repairs were being made.
Isaak and Steve's Pizza, on the ground floor of the affected building, was closed earlier today while they awaited an inspection from Norristown's code enforcement department. The shop was cleared and reopened early this afternoon.
Chief O'Donnell noted that the family did not have a CO detector installed in their home and if not for the quick thinking of one of the parents, the incident could have had more dire consequences.
"This is a big bullet that we dodged," he said. "We could have been dealing with a totally different set of circumstances."
Last week, East Norriton firefighters were called to a carbon monoxide situation at a home at Sienna and Crimson drives in that township on the evening of Monday, Feb. 25. According to PECO, a faulty gas range set off a CO detector in the home.
"This is the season," said Chief O'Donnell. He recommended residents get their heaters inspected on an annual basis and change filters regularly. Chief O'Donnell also recommended homeowners have CO detectors installed in their home.
"We offer free smoke detector installations in every home in town," he said. "In addition, [thanks to] an anonymous donor..., one of those detectors is a combination carbon monoxide and smoke detector."
Norristown residents wishing to take advantage of the program should call 610-270-2870 for more information or to make an appointment.
Both Norriton Fire Engine Company in East Norriton and Jefferson Fire Company in West Norriton have similar programs.
Jefferson Fire Company reports that their firefighters carry new detectors and 9-volt batteries on every call and make sure residents who need working detectors are taken care of, but supplies are limited. West Norriton residents should call 610-539-3990 for more information about Jefferson Fire Company's program. East Norriton residents should call East Norriton Township at 610-275-2800 to learn more about their smoke detector program.