Six people were hospitalized, including four children, following a carbon monoxide incident in Plymouth, Massachusetts, on Tuesday morning.
Plymouth Fire investigators said an on-scene investigation indicated that a malfunctioning furnace in the basement was the source of the carbon monoxide. The furnace was shut off and the home was ventilated for over an hour.
Plymouth fire said they received a 911 call around 7:15 a.m. for a strange odor in a home on Kings Pond Plain Road. An occupant of the home had gone down to the basement to find light smoke coming out of the furnace.
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Firefighters evacuated the home after finding high carbon monoxide levels in the basement and on the first floor.
A great-grandmother, mother and her 10-year-old, 2-year-old and 2-month-old children were taken by ambulance to an area hospital. A fourth child who went to school prior to firefighters' arrival was also taken by Plymouth EMS from school to an area hospital to receive medical care.
Another adult who was at home at the time of the incident declined treatment, fire officials said.
Fire officials initially said all of the hospitalizations were precautionary and everyone is expected to be OK. Later Tuesday, fire officials said all of the patients had since been released from the hospital.
Fire Chief Edward Bradley said firefighters found one carbon monoxide detector in the home but it was about five years old. He said carbon monoxide detectors usually last between five to seven years, depending on the brand. First responders said the home had smoke alarms from 1999 that sounded off after firefighters had arrived on the scene.
Both the outdated carbon monoxide detector and the smoke alarms sounded off too late into the CO incident to alert the home's residents, fire officials said.
“It is imperative that every home has working and up-to-date carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms,” Chief Bradley said. “Carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms are instrumental to your safety while in your home as they alert you to potential dangers that may occur.”
The Plymouth Fire Department reminds residents of these several important carbon monoxide safety tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- If your carbon monoxide detector is sounding, call 911 immediately.
- Have your heating system, water heater and any other gas or coal-burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year.
- Do not use portable flameless chemical heaters indoors.
- Never use a generator inside your home, basement or garage or less than 20 feet from any window, door or vent; fatal levels of carbon monoxide can be produced in just minutes.
- Have your chimney checked and cleaned every year, and make sure your fireplace damper is open before lighting a fire and well after the fire is extinguished.
- Make sure your gas appliances are vented properly.
- Never use your oven for heating your home.
- Never let a car idle in the garage.