Eight people were taken to hospitals this morning after being exposed to extremely high levels of carbon monoxide in their Des Moines home. Des Moines Fire Department Captain Steve Brown says a woman in the home called 9-1-1 at 7 a.m. and reported she had a headache for the last four days. “When crews arrived at the front door…she met them and at that time, she collapsed,” Brown said.
All eight people inside the home were transported to hospitals. “Three adults and five children,” Brown said. “One of the children is an eight-month-old infant.” Their conditions are unknown. “There was one (victim) that was going into a hyperbaric chamber to be treated for the CO poisoning,” Brown said.
Carbon monoxide gas is colorless, odorless, and tasteless. The symptoms of CO poisoning include headache, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, and shortness of breathe. Brown said the occupants of the home could’ve easily been killed by the CO gas had the 911 call not been placed. “Our meters read 500 parts per million and it alerts at 25 parts per million, so it was way over…1,200 parts per million in a home is immediately dangerous to life and health,” Brown said.
The source of the gas leak was traced to home’s furnace. Brown said it appeared moisture from the air conditioner dripped onto the heat exchanger, causing rust and the buildup of carbon monoxide.