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2 people, pet removed from Richland Twp. home, treated for CO poisoning
By Maria Miller
RICHLAND TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- The extreme temperatures kept people indoors Tuesday. Officials have been warning to be on the alert for carbon monoxide poisoning and that's just the call a local department got Tuesday morning.
Officials said two people and their dog are lucky to be alive after finding carbon monoxide levels inside their home nearly 40 times higher than what's considered safe.
The Richland Township fire department said a woman who lives inside a home on Chrysler Avenue called 911 Tuesday morning reporting she and her husband may be suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning
"They were experiencing the normal effects of it, from headaches to lethargic behavior ... Confused," said Bob Heffelfinger, battalion chief for the Richland Township Fire Department.
When the department showed up, Heffelfinger said the woman was able to make it out on her own but her husband was weak and a family dog was already unconscious.
"We had to remove the male victim from the home and the dog was immediately given oxygen via a very specific pet related oxygen mask device that we were fortunate enough to receive some time ago," said Heffelfinger. "The man was taken to the hospital and the dog was transported to a local veterinarians hospital via one of our fire department vehicles."
As suspected, Heffelfinger said the cause was carbon monoxide poisoning, thought to be the result of fumes coming from the furnace combined with a draft from the hot water tank.
"We had readings as high as 2,000 parts per million and carbon monoxide in the oxygen level at 18 percent," said Heffelfinger.
Compare that to a safe level being around 30 parts per million and a normal home only 5-15 parts per million.
"Of all my years in the fire service, that's probably the highest CO readings that I've experienced," said Heffelfinger.
While it's unclear whether or not the family had a working carbon monoxide detector installed, 6 News learned Tuesday it's now a requirement throughout the state.
Senate Bill 607 was introduced in March of 2013 and signed into law by the governor a few weeks ago on Dec. 18. It requires all homes with fossil fuel burning heaters or fireplaces to have an operational and centrally located carbon monoxide alarm installed.
The new law also requires landlords to install carbon monoxide detectors in all rental properties. It allows 18 months to do so, but officials recommend not waiting and installing those devices now.
In the meantime, the couple and their dog all received treatment and are said to be doing just fine.
A complete stigmatization of the bill reads as follows :
Carbon monoxide alarms Act 121 of 2013 (SB 607) requires residential properties, including each dwelling in a multifamily residential structure, with fossil fuel burning heaters or fireplaces to have an operational and centrally located carbon monoxide alarm. Act 121 defines "fossil fuel" as coal, kerosene, oil, wood, fuel gases, and other petroleum or hydrocarbon products which emit carbon monoxide as a by-product of combustion.
Act 121 requires each unit in a multifamily dwelling that uses a fossil fuel-burning heater or appliance to install a carbon monoxide alarm within 18 months of the effective date of this act and requires disclosure of the installation of carbon monoxide detectors to buyers of residential properties and rental properties. The act also requires the owner of a rental multifamily dwelling to install a carbon monoxide detector and to replace any nonoperational detector before renting to a new occupant. Act 121 authorizes municipalities to adopt equal or more stringent requirements for carbon monoxide alarms.
Effective date: December 18, 2013.