34 poisoned by carbon monoxide at family party


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Team coverageThirty-four people in Ogden are recovering from carbon monoxide poisoning this afternoon. They were all attending a family party at a home near 200 West and 400 South last night when the poisoning occurred.

The Godinez family was hosting the holiday party and cooking with a propane grill inside the garage. That's when people started feeling sick, so someone called 911.

34 poisoned by carbon monoxide at family party

Ogden Fire responded, not knowing what to expect. But because their particular unit has received grant money for CO training and new tools, the firefighters were prepared.

"It's a silent killer. Even professionals don't know if they're in a CO atmosphere, a high-level CO atmosphere. So this detector, they carry it into a scene. It continually monitors and if they reach 30 to 35 parts per million, it will alarm," said Ogden Deputy Fire Chief Chad Tucker said.

In this case, the small CO detector definitely sounded. Responders discovered levels as high as 175 parts per million; 15 parts per million is considered above normal, and anything above 100 is potentially lethal.

Next, crews determined who was sick enough to go to the hospital, thanks to a new tool called a RAD-57. "It's a simple tool. You put it on your finger and it looks at your blood to see how much carbon monoxide you have attached in your hemoglobin," Tucker explained.

34 poisoned by carbon monoxide at family party

Responders had to check nearly 50 people who attended the party. "Anything less than 5 percent, usually you can leave at the scene. But once you get over 5 to 9 percent, you start to get concerned and need to transport them to the hospital," Tucker said.

Thirty-four of the 50 people tested needed to be transported. Some of those had levels up to 35 percent.

Even though everyone is OK, firefighters say the whole incident could have been prevented with a CO detector. "If they take a copy of their water bill, go down to the water department, the copied bill provides proof of residency. They can buy a co detector for $10," Tucker said.

A new city ordinance requires detectors in all homes. If you're caught without one, you have 30 days to install or face a $50 fine. Ogden city and fire have distributed more than 7,600 detectors since the law went into effect last year.

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