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Fire Dept. Pushes Carbon Monoxide Poison Prevention

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PIKESVILLE, Md. (WJZ)–It’s far too common a problem. Carbon monoxide deaths become more frequent in the winter months. Now there is a push to educate people and save lives.

Mike Hellgren reports from Pikesville, outside a home where carbon monoxide claimed three lives.

It’s a silent killer, and what’s really alarmed so many people is the number of deaths over the past months.

Five people in the Baltimore area have died and more than a dozen of them injured because of a carbon monoxide poisoning this month. Fire departments are focused on preventing more poisonings, including in Pikesville where three people died and 11 were hospitalized after a faulty furnace spewed the odorless, colorless gas.

“I was very scared because it could have happened to any one of us,” said Lorna Simmons, whose neighbor died from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Simmons says she’s since purchased new carbon monoxide detectors for every floor of her home.

“I put one in the basement and one in the kid’s room,” she said. “You know, you buy a house to be comfortable and that same home can turn around and take your life.”

A memorial is growing on Guilford Avenue in Baltimore City where carbon monoxide—probably from an oven—killed two people earlier this week and injured three of their relatives.

It’s critical to have your appliances, furnaces, chimneys and ventilation inspected every year.

“Exposure of carbon monoxide at low levels over long duration or carbon monoxide exposure at high concentration for a low period of time—both can be deadly,” said Kevin Cartwright, Baltimore City Fire Department.

There was another scare just 24 hours ago in Pigtown, when eight people had to go to the hospital after possible carbon monoxide exposure. No one was severely injured.

“A couple fire trucks rolled up, an ambulance and basically was on top of this roof,” said a witness.

In the two cases that resulted in deaths, the amount of carbon monoxide was at least 11 times the legal level.

“I advise people to go and get it [the carbon monoxide detector],” Simmons said. “Go to wherever they sell or if they can, get it free. It will save a life.”  

In addition to checking for carbon monoxide detectors, firefighters will also check for working fire detectors.

Baltimore City requires landlords to install carbon monoxide detectors in all rental properties.

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