The Times West Virginian


February 16, 2014

Some simple steps can stop senseless deaths from carbon monoxide poisoning

The weather forecast for the coming week calls for a break in the snow and temperatures in the 50s for a few days.

Nevertheless, it’s no time to take our minds off a potentially deadly hazard of the heating season — carbon monoxide poisoning.

Marion County Homeland Security and Emergency Management director Chris McIntire said last week that since January, the 911 center has had 30 calls regarding carbon monoxide poisoning.

“We’re very concerned about that,” he said. “It’s a very serious and dangerous issue.”

The figures, McIntire noted, are much higher than the five to 10 cases of carbon monoxide poisoning reported during a typical winter in the county.

“I think it’s due to the extreme cold that’s been happening,” he explained. “People are doing whatever it takes to stay warm, and I think it’s causing a lot of these issues.”

Since last Sunday, at least 10 people in Marion County have been hospitalized due to carbon monoxide poisoning.

Seven were workers at a Marcellus Shale pump station owned by Momentum M3 Appalachia Gas Gathering, LLC, on Toothman Run Road in the Grant Town area off Paw Paw Road. The incident took place last Sunday.

According to Fairview Volunteer Fire Department chief Steve Gillespie, workplace safety negligence was the cause.

“There was a big tent with no ventilation and no fans,” Gillespie said. The tent contained two gas welders, two generators, and a couple of large and small turbo heaters.

“That raised the CO levels,” he said. “The heaters have been running a week to bring the temperature up inside the tent to above 80 degrees.”

Emergency services shut down work in the tent, which was being operated by Jarrell Contractors, which operates out of North Carolina. The seven workers in the tent were transported to Ruby Memorial, Fairmont General and Monongalia General hospitals for carbon monoxide poisoning.

“These guys are lucky to be alive,” Gillespie said. He said that according to a company representative, all workers have now been released.

Emergency services were dispatched to a residence on Darby Street in Worthington at around 2:50 a.m. Tuesday.

“There was a malfunction in the heating system, and it was putting carbon monoxide into the house,” McIntire said;

Three people were taken to the hospital, with vehicles sent to Fairmont General, UPMC in Pittsburgh and Ruby Memorial.

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas produced when fuel is burned. Typically, the gas is safely vented out of homes and work places.

Colder-than-average weather, though, has meant that people are running their heaters more, perhaps also choosing to bring outdoor-only heaters inside without creating proper ventilation. The cold can also damage vent pipes. Cars left warming up in an enclosed garage can also cause hazardous carbon monoxide levels.

Carbon monoxide poisoning deprives the heart, brain and other vital organs of needed oxygen. There are warning signs that must not be ignored. Initial symptoms may include dizziness, fatigue, drowsiness and nausea. After prolonged exposure, symptoms may intensify to include vomiting, confusion, collapse, loss of consciousness and muscle weakness.

Carbon monoxide poisoning can be deadly.

“First thing, if you think you have it in the house, go outside of the house and call 911. We’ll send someone out with a detector to check,” McIntire said. “The best thing is to limit your exposure to it. If you have high enough levels, it can be deadly within 30 minutes or so.”

It’s best not to rely on feeling the symptoms. Carbon monoxide detectors, priced at about $15-20 each, can save lives. If the gas builds up in homes overnight when occupants are asleep, residents may not regain consciousness.

Be vigilant during the remainder of the heating season. Awareness and a few simple steps can stop the silent killer, carbon monoxide.

Text Only
  • United effort to keep NASA in Fairmont is essential project

    The high-technology sector is obviously vital to the economy of North Central West Virginia.
    That’s why a strong, united effort to keep the NASA Independent Verification and Validation Program in Fairmont is absolutely essential.

    July 27, 2014

  • COLUMN: Calling all readers: Be heard

    I love to talk to readers.
    I love to hear concerns they have about stories we’ve written, things they think should be included in the newspaper and things they think shouldn’t be.

    July 27, 2014

  • Korean War veterans are deserving of a memorial

    NEEDED: A total of $10,000 for the Korean War Memorial this year.
    And a good man has been placed in charge of the funding. Charlie Reese, former president of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, is now director of the Marion County Development Office. His task was to make a recommendation as to what steps are necessary to keep the project moving.

    July 25, 2014

  • Roll up your sleeves, give blood and you can save lives

    It takes up to 100 units of blood to save the life of someone who sustains life-threatening injuries in a vehicle accident.
    We’re hoping that the number of people who come to Fairmont Senior High School on Friday for and American Red Cross blood drive will exceed that amount.

    July 24, 2014

  • Vehicles and motorcycles must share the road safely

    The days are long. The weather is superb. There’s plenty of leisure time in these lazy days of summer.
    It’s the perfect time to take a long motorcycle ride.
    It’s also the perfect opportunity for us to take the time to remind not only riders but drivers of the need to share the road. And we feel compelled to mention it because just within the month of July, there have been two motorcycle-versus-car accidents within the City of Fairmont alone — one with severe injuries sustained by the motorcyclist and the other with less serious injury.

    July 23, 2014

  • Too many taking too few steps to protect selves from skin cancer

    July 22, 2014

  • Distracted driving: It isn’t worth fine or a life

    Today marks the day that police agencies from six states are joining forces to crack down on one thing — distracted driving.
    And they will focus on that traffic violation for a solid week, with the stepped-up effort to curb distracted driving wrapping up on Saturday, July 26.

    July 20, 2014

  • COLUMN: Are we people watchers or people judgers?

    Let me tell you about my little friend Robby. Well, actually, it’s more about his family and especially his mom. I didn’t get her name. I heard Robby’s name quite a bit, though, during a trip home from Birmingham, Alabama.
    I noticed the family in the Birmingham airport immediately. They were just the kind of family you’d notice.

    July 20, 2014

  • Relish the rich bounty of state’s diverse, unique food traditions

    This week, a group of federal officials on a three-day culinary tour of the state visited the Greenbrier Valley to find out what most of us here already know — we have a rich food tradition in West Virginia.
    The group was made up of officials from the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

    July 18, 2014

  • Soup Opera in need of your support again this time of year

    It’s happening again.
    It usually always happens about this time each year. Sometimes it’s a little earlier and sometimes a little later.
    But Soup Opera executive director Shelia Tennant knows it will come — usually in July. And she’s never that surprised about it.

    July 17, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Politics
House Ads