BLAIR TOWNSHIP — A family is safe after being evacuated from their house because of a carbon monoxide leak Saturday night.
Blair Township emergency services responded to a call from one of the family members who said the CO alarm was going off at their residence. Investigation crews along with DTE workers found the source was a faulty stove, Blair Township Fire Chief Bill Parker said. Officials turned off the stove and vented the house.
The family left the home when the alarm sounded and did not have any injuries or sickness from exposure. Parker said that because carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas, the alarm is the only way the family would have know they were in danger.
“There’s no way you’re going to know it’s in the house unless you have a detector,” he said.
The CO level in the house was 60 parts per million, Parker said. Fifty ppm is the maximum allowable concentration for continuous exposure for healthy adults in any eight-hour period, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
“CO builds up in the bloodstream, so it depends on how long you’re exposed to it,” Parker said. “It effects each person differently, depending on how healthy you are and how old you are. But 60 is getting up there in one of those high levels where it can really start to affect you if you’re exposed to it for a long time.”
The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission states that 400 ppm is life-threatening after three hours and that death is likely between 800 to 1,600 ppm.
The CPSC estimates that, on average, 170 people in the U.S. die each year from CO poisoning caused by household products such as furnaces, ranges, water heaters and room heaters.
“That’s the second stove we’ve had an issue with in the area this summer,” Parker said. “We’re heading into that fall season soon where people’s furnaces haven’t been running throughout the summer. We usually see a spike in CO calls in that time frame.”
Initial symptoms of low to moderate exposure are headache, fatigue, nausea and dizziness. Symptoms of high exposure are mental confusion, vomiting, loss of consciousness and ultimately death, according to the CPSC.
Blair Township partnered with MI Prevention to provide smoke alarms and CO detectors to some of its residents. Parker said there are still a few available and to call 231-276-9354 to schedule an appointment.