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Generator Gives 12 People Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

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Irving firefighters on scene of carbon monoxide poisoning | Image by WFAA

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A family was hospitalized after a running gas-powered generator reportedly caused carbon monoxide poisoning on Tuesday at their home in Irving.

The Irving Fire Department responded to a medical emergency in the 3500 block of Briarcliff Court North around 6 a.m. on August 30.

Upon arrival, the fire department discovered 12 people, including a 9-month-old and a 1-year-old, who had suffered carbon monoxide poisoning. They transported them to a hospital, where they were reported as being in stable condition.

“They felt dizzy, nauseous, [and] they felt headache,” Johnny Mosquera, a family friend, told WFFA. “They were under a mask to help them breathe.”

“The family left a gas-powered generator on in the garage while they were waiting for the electricity to turn on. They just moved in over the weekend,” tweeted WFFA reporter Malini Basu.

Because carbon monoxide gas is colorless and odorless, it is impossible to detect with the human senses. “It will seep through. Unfortunately, it’s odorless. You won’t even know it’s in your house,” said Anthony Kennedy of the Irving Fire Department.

Firefighters want to remind the public only to use generators at least 20 feet away from home. The exhaust pipe should be pointed away.

Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that can make people seriously ill if breathed. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headache, dizziness, feeling sick or being sick, feeling weak, confusion, chest and muscle pain, and shortness of breath.

The dangerous gas can be made by fires and appliances that burn gas, wood, oil, or coal, including gas boilers, gas cookers, clay ovens, gas or paraffin heaters, wood, gas and coal fires, and portable generators. Common household appliances used for heating and cooking can produce carbon monoxide if they are inappropriately installed, faulty, or poorly maintained. 

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