Carbon-monoxideA carbon monoxide detector may’ve saved the lives of a family in northwest Iowa last night. Le Mars Fire Chief Dave Schipper says they were called out to the home after the carbon monoxide detector started going off. He says levels in the basement of the home were measured at 150 parts-per-million and levels at 35 parts-per-million over an eight hour period can be deadly.

“We evacuated the people, ventilated the structure, and then had to try and figure out where that carbon monoxide was being produced from,” Schipper said. The problem was traced to a faulty furnace. The Le Mars Fire Department alone has responded to seven carbon monoxide related calls since October.

According to Schipper, a C-O detector is just as important to have in the home as a smoke alarm. “It’s an odorless, colorless gas, so you can’t see it, smell it, or taste it. It’s a silent killer,” Schipper said. The family affected by Wednesday’s alarm went to a hospital as a precaution. Carbon monoxide is usually produced by common household appliances. When not properly ventilated, CO emitted by the appliances can build up.

(Reporting by Dennis Morrice, KLEM, Le Mars)