Generators Cause Carbon Monoxide Scares in Brockton, Hanson

All three carbon monoxide scares were related to generators after hundreds of thousands of people lost power due to the damaging nor'easter

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Generator use is now a serious concern following widespread power outages from this week's storm. Eight people were taken to the hospital overnight after carbon monoxide scares at multiple homes in Brockton and Hanson, Massachusetts.

Hundreds of thousands of people were left without power after a damaging nor'easter tore down trees and utility poles earlier this week. All three of the carbon monoxide incidents were related to generators.

A child called 911 Thursday night in Brockton, where five people -- three adults and two children -- were taken to the hospital with signs of carbon monoxide poisoning. When Brockton firefighters arrived at the Menlo Street home around 11:30 p.m., they found a running generator on the first floor and a woman who was in and out of consciousness.

Everyone initially thought the woman was suffering from an unknown medical issue until they found the running generator. All five people showed carbon monoxide levels of 1000 parts per million, the Brockton fire chief said. Some victims were taken to Brockton Hospital and others to Good Samaritan.

The entire neighborhood -- including Menlo Street home -- lost power from the storm.

The following morning, in Hanson, firefighters responded to two carbon monoxide incidents at separate residences.

Two people called 911 when their carbon monoxide alarms went off at their home on Pleasant Street just before 4 a.m. Firefighters found slightly elevated levels of carbon monoxide in the house. Both residents were taken to a hospital for evaluation.

While ventilating the Pleasant Street home, the Hanson Fire Department got another 911 call at 4:55 a.m. for a report of people not feeling well at a residence on Crescent Place.

Firefighters found three people waiting for them outside when they arrived on scene. Inside the home, firefighters found extremely high levels of carbon monoxide. All three people were taken to South Shore Hospital for evaluation.

Everyone exposed to CO in Brockton and Hanson is expected to be okay but authorities are warning people to be careful because carbon monoxide can be deadly.

Carbon monoxide is poisonous, odorless, colorless and tasteless. Exposure to carbon monoxide can produce headache, nausea, dizziness, confusion, fainting,
unconsciousness and death. Carbon monoxide poisoning can mimic flu symptoms.

“National Grid has several crews in town working to restore power, but complete
restoration efforts could take another 24 to 48 hours,” Fire Chief Jerome Thompson said. “Working carbon monoxide alarms are critical to the safety of your family and home.”

With more people using emergency portable generators, there are more calls to local fire departments. Here's what you need to know about safety:

Fire officials urge people to take the following safety precautions to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning:

  • Install working carbon monoxide alarms on every level of your home.
  • If your carbon monoxide detector is sounding, get out of the house and call 911 immediately.
  • Place generators outdoors facing away from doors, windows and vents.
  • Never use a generator inside a house, basement or crawl space – not even inside a garage with the door open.
  • When possible, place the generator 5-10 feet away from the house
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