Death by Carbon Monoxiide

Carbon Monoxide detector was in home
Man died while sleeping in basement
Lack of maintenance blamed

Carbon monoxide kills St. Paul man

                                                                                                                             Carbon monoxide appears to have killed man sleeping in St. Paul basement. Children were removed from home before the cause of death was apparent.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        **By [ANTHONY LONETREE](,** Star Tribune                 
                                               Last update: January 7, 2008 - 4:28 PM
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                                                                              A 21-year-old man died in the basement of a home in St. Paul's Midway neighborhood this morning after being exposed to carbon monoxide, authorities said.

“He didn’t have a chance,” Fire Marshal Steve Zaccard said.
The victim was ruled dead at the scene at 563 Asbury St. after authorities responded to a report of a man not breathing about 5:51 a.m., Zaccard said.
But it wasn’t until about 7:30 a.m. – when a carbon monoxide detector in the house sounded – that the apparent cause of death was known.
Two adults and three children then were taken to Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis, which has a hyperbaric chamber that helps treat smoke inhalation and carbon monoxide poisoning.
“They are conscious and alert,” Zaccard said.
The children – all girls, ages 1, 5 and 11 – apparently had been up and about already, the fire marshal said, because they had been taken to a grandmother’s house after the initial 5:51 a.m. call to authorities. They were treated at that house before being taken to the hospital.
Police still were on the scene at 7:30 a.m. when the detector went off, Zaccard said, enabling them to alert the Fire Department, and find treatment for the adults and children.
Authorities determined that the carbon monoxide levels in the house were at 500 parts per million, which Zaccard said “is fatal in about three hours.” Xcel Energy found that the basement boiler was pumping out carbon monoxide at 4,700 parts per million. The boiler, Zaccard said, was only about 10 feet from where the dead man was sleeping.

**[Added from another news story-
**“It was found that they had a bad boiler in the basement. It was putting out 4,700 parts per million out the back of the boiler,” said Gulner. **"That was due to a malfunction with an electronic damper in the unit. **That’s what actually killed the young man in the basement.]

“Carbon monoxide is odorless, colorless and by the time you realize that you’re suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning, you can’t do anything about it,” he said. “You can’t move.”
It appeared the boiler had not been serviced for some time, Zaccard added.
The fire marshal said it was not known why the detector had not sound earlier. As of late morning, he said, he did not know on which floor the detector was situated.

we had an incident like that down here about a year ago at the double tree grand key resort. this led to the code being changed and a new state statue stating that all sleeping rooms be equipted with co monitors

How sad.

Good info here:

This is the one I use and recommend.

Here’s a couple of other thoughts about Carbon Monoxide

Kentucky Home Inspector on Flu versus Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Kentucky Home Inspector on Haunted Houses & Carbon Monoxide!

If you’d like to join Active Rain, I’d appreciate you using this link to sign up as I get a few points for your activity.

** **

**NFPA Podcast **

January 2008

Posted: 07 Jan 2008 12:23 AM CST

2007 - the year in review, the dangers of carbon monoxide, and a preview of the upcoming World Safety Conference & Exposition.

This posting includes an audio/video/photo media file: Download Now](

This site updates carbon monoxide deaths and injuries throughout the world on a regular basis, and it also has some great carbon monoxide safety information.

That site is part and parcel of my SOLUTIONS property assessment report.

Another good site on CO is

Jim Davis of NCI is an outstanding instructor.
Most people don’t realize that the $20 CO detectors don’t alarm till 60 -p 75 ppm which could be too late for the elderly and young children.
This is the detector I use.
NSI 3000

NFPA Research Analyst Jennifer Flynn on CO and CO detection:

More facts about CO, CO detectors and safety tips

“Non-Fire Carbon Monoxide Incidents Reported in 2005” - Read the full report]( (PDF, 47KB)

“Burns and Toxic Gass in Non-Fire Situations” - Read the full report]( (PDF, 24KB)


NFPA 720: Standard for the Installation of Household Carbon Monoxide (CO) Warning Equipment, 2005 Edition

• U.S. fire departments responded to an average of seven calls per hour for non-fire carbon monoxide incidents in 2005. That’s an 18% increase from 2003, most likely due to an increase in the use of CO detectors.

• In 2005, January and December were the peak months for non-fire carbon monoxide incidents in which CO was found.

• The peak time of day is between 6:00 p.m. and 9:59 p.m.

• Overall, 75 percent of non-fire CO incidents are reported between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 10:59 p.m.

• Almost 9 out of every 10 (89 percent) reported non-fire CO incidents took place in the home. In contrast, homes accounted for 75 percent of the structure fires reported that year. (Homes include one- or two-family dwellings, manufactured homes, and multifamily dwellings, including apartments, condos, town houses, row houses, and tenements.)

• In 2003, there were an estimated 60,600 unintentional CO detector activations, in which carbon monoxide was not detected, this includes CO detector malfunctions and false alarms. (Due to the increasingly large size of the national database, false alarms and false calls were not included in the publicly released NFIRS data for 2004 and 2005.)

• In 2003, 46 percent of all CO-related non-fire calls reported to fi re departments were carbon monoxide incidents, in which carbon monoxide was found. Fifty-four percent of all CO-related non-fire calls reported to fi re departments were false alarms, or no CO was found.
—Source: NFIRS and NFPA survey

CO Busters


CO Analyst Protocol

Interesting article. I did a short google search a few years back. I found lots of CO related deaths due to blocked furnace venting, BBQing indoors, cars left running in garages, etc,. To my surprise I couldn’t come up with a single confirmed instance of a fatality due to a cracked heat exchanger. It must be very rare and now with the introduction of high efficiency furnaces and their sub-atmospheric heat exchangers the chances get even more remote.

Replaced the primary heat exchanger on a Goodman GMPN series, thats a 90 percenter, due to a co poisoning 2 weeks ago. The Grandmother fell down a stairway. The Fire Department responded and their co meter read elevated levels.

Guess it’s better than a Janitrol.

They still making the jacket paper thin?

Goodman bought Janitrol. Unfortunately they stopped building them as heavy as those old J7’s

Hi Gary
Do you understand the mechanics. How does a induced draft power vented H/E operating sub-atmospherically release CO?

Depends upon the size of the crack and the location. Even though the inducer generates a negative pressure to move the combustion gases through the heat exchanger passages the farther away from the inducer the less negative pressure is developed. Up by the burner flame if one were to test the negative pressure may be half of what is available at the inducer. The other aspect that must be remembered is that even though the air circulator blower is generating a positive pressure in the heat exchanger area which can vary from + 0.2 inch water column and up that the air is flowing acrossed curved surfaces of the heat exchanger. These curved surfaces can do wierd things to airflow.

I have a set of video tapes made by SMACNA (Sheet Metal Airconditioning Contractors North America. They made a plastic duct system where different types of duct takeoffs could be attached to the trunk duct. The blower system was a variabe speed system with a soap bubble generator that injects helium in the soap bubbles. One of the takeoffs showed that some of the bubbles would enter the supply duct from the trunk duct and would reverse and go back into the trunk duct leaving very little air flow going down the supply duct. So air flow in a system can do some very strange things.