August 15, 2008
Six Remain Hospitalized With Monoxide Poisoning
By BRANDY BRUBAKER
MORGANTOWN - Six people overcome by carbon monoxide remain hospitalized while authorities await results of an autopsy on a 12- year-old girl - a guest in the home - who succumbed to the gas.
Authorities said a faulty pool heater attached to an indoor pool was to blame for the high carbon monoxide levels that poisoned residents and two guests in a home three miles south.
State Trooper J.R. Celapino did not release the victims' names Wednesday, at the families' request, but did provide their ages.
Another 12-year-old girl, sharing a bed with the girl who died, was flown by medical helicopter to Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh for specialized treatment. Her father, who also lives in the home, is in Pittsburgh staying with her.
The two girls were sleeping in the bedroom closest to a faulty pool heater and were exposed to the greatest levels of carbon monoxide, Celapino said.
Three boys, two 14 years old and one 17, shared a bedroom. An 8- year-old girl and a 38-year-old woman, mother to some of the children, slept alone in other rooms.
Celapino wasn't sure of their conditions Wednesday afternoon but said all still were hospitalized. One additional child from the group was taken to WVU Children's Hospital.
Four of the children live in the home. Celapino said he believes some of the children are those of the mother and some are the father's. The girl who died and one boy were guests, invited to spend the night.
The father also slept in the home Monday night but got up early to help with a pavilion being built behind the home, Celapino said.
Late Tuesday morning or early Tuesday afternoon, the mother of the house and her 8-year-old daughter awoke, both feeling nauseous and dizzy, Celapino said. They each vomited a little but attributed it to the flu or a bout of food poisoning. The father, outside in the fresh air for several hours, felt fine.
The other children slept late, but it is likely that not much was thought of it since they stayed up late the night before, Celapino said.
He was not sure how the problem in the house was discovered. The call came in to 911 as a cardiac arrest. Celapino said all of the patients transported except the mother and the 8-year-old girl were already on their way to area hospitals when he arrived on scene. The mother and the girl were able to get into an ambulance on their own, he said. They were wearing oxygen masks.
Celapino said the pool heater either overheated or didn't ventilate properly, causing the deadly but odorless gas to seep throughout the home. The pool water was at an extremely high temperature and very high levels of carbon monoxide were detected in that area.
The pool heater, like the house's oven, washer and dryer, and heating system, were powered by propane, Celapino said.
The family used the pool Monday. They keep it heated all the time, he said.
Celapino said he can find no evidence of negligence, but the incident is still being treated as a death investigation.
Originally published by THE DOMINION POST.
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