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Carbon monoxide sickens about 10

Carbon monoxide sickened a group of people inside a house in Brighton Estates recently, the Park City Fire District said, with an official saying a few of the people lost consciousness during the episode.

The case occurred at between 10:30 p.m. and 11 p.m. on Nov. 22 in the high-altitude neighborhood in the Wasatch County mountains south of Park City. The fire district said the colorless, odorless gas made between eight and 10 people sick.

The people were discovered to have differing levels of carbon monoxide poisoning. Leroy Fernandez, a captain with the fire district, said about two people lost consciousness. Others vomited and complained of severe headaches, he said.

"There were varying levels and varying degrees of signs," Fernandez said.

The authorities did not provide their conditions by midweek. Their ages were not released.

According to Fernandez, the victims drove themselves to Park City Healthcare, a clinic on Bonanza Drive. The patients overwhelmed the clinic and workers there called 911, he said. The fire district responded to the clinic with three ambulances, one engine and one rescue unit.

Fernandez said the fire district immediately transported four of the victims in ambulances to a Salt Lake hospital. Ambulance workers and clinic staffers administered oxygen to the rest of the victims.

Fernandez was told the victims were in one house.

The source of the carbon monoxide was not immediately known. The Wasatch County Building Department by the middle of the week had not been informed of the case.

The case, one of the more dramatic ones in the Park City area, comes as people are using their furnaces after a mild fall. Malfunctioning furnaces and other gas-fired appliances are often cited in carbon monoxide cases.

Ron Ivie, the chief building official in Park City, said wintertime problems with carbon monoxide are worrisome since some symptoms of poisoning, such as headaches and nausea, resemble those of the flu.

"It’s kind of the silent killer," he said.

Ivie suggests people install carbon monoxide detectors in or near rooms where people sleep or use regularly. Detectors are required in new houses that have fuel-burning appliances. He says they must be put in bedrooms or nearby areas, similar to rules that require smoke detectors.

The EPA provides information about carbon monoxide on its Web site, http://www.epa.gov/iaq/co.html.


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