His wife, Annette, and son allegedly found him Friday, Oct. 12, unconscious in his condominium after a phone call left her concerned.
"My wife called me about noon, but I wasn't very coherent so she decided to go over and check on me," James said. "When she found me, she decided I looked bad enough, I should probably go to the hospital."
Stanfill said that when he woke up to get ready for work, he had a severe headache. A short time later, the headache had become insufferable, and soon he was nauseous and vomiting repeatedly, he said. "It was just really horrible."
According to Bob Swensen, Environmental Health Director of the Summit County Health Department, red blood cells transport oxygen throughout the body. But when people are exposed to carbon monoxide, the carbon monoxide essentially hijacks the red blood sells so they transport carbon monoxide instead of oxygen.
"So if you get enough red blood cells transporting carbon monoxide, you don't have any way of transporting oxygen to your muscles," Swensen said. "So unless you get away from the carbon monoxide, you start to get dizzy and nauseous."
Stanfill then opened the back door and turned the heat down from 72 degrees, hoping he would feel better if he cooled off -- an act that, according to the hospital, probably saved him his life, James said.
But by the time Annette and their son got to the condominium, her husband was unconscious.
"When we yelled at him, he didn't come to. So I shook him and he came to a little bit," Annette said.
Annette and her son scooped James up and carried him out to the car and drove to the hospital.
"They treated me and did blood tests, and apparently I had over six times the normal carbon monoxide level in my blood," James said.
Stanfill said he went back to the condominium that night and told the owner's what had happened. The owners called the fire department, which checked the whole building, including his room. But there were no unusual carbon monoxide levels, he said.
"Of course, a day later and with ventilation on, there wouldn't be anything there," he said.
Stanfill has since moved out of the condominium and into his wife's house, even though his condominium lease isn't up until Dec. 1.
"I went in there to get some clothes and I couldn't wait to get out of there," he said. "It's 100 percent psychological, but if you went through what I went through, you wouldn't want to go back there either."
Stanfill sent a letter to the condominium owner, stating that his understanding of the Utah housing laws is that the owner must provide a safe environment for her tenants. He said that since it was no longer a safe environment, he was terminating his lease and asked for a refund, as he had already paid in full.
Since the incident, he said he has been short of breath, light headed and has difficulty breathing.
If someone suspects they are suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning, Swensen recommends they open a window or go outside. And if they think they may have a carbon monoxide problem, they should leave the room closed up and call the fire department to check it out.
To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, Swensen recommends carbon monoxide detectors and regularly replace the batteries on them. Property owners should also have furnaces checked regularly by professionals, particularly at the onset of the cold season. "It's well worth it."