Carmel Women Saved from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Garbled texts alerted daughter that something wrong

Two women were rescued on Nov. 13 after they fell unconscious in their Carmel home due to carbon monoxide poisoning.

One of the two women texted her daughter, who lives outside the area. As the messages became incoherent, police say, the daughter tried phone. Getting no answer, she called a friend and asked her to check on her mother, 61, and grandmother, 89, at the house on North Gate Road.

The friend heard the sound of a carbon monoxide alarm going off and could see the grandmother lying unconscious on the floor near the front door.  The friend called 911.

Carmel Police Department Officer James Terrazas, Carmel Fire Department Firefighter Joseph Fernandez and Putnam County Sheriff’s Deputy Andrew Kristan responded and removed the 89-year-old victim from the home. They found the 61-year-old resident unconscious in a back bedroom.

The women were taken to Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla and are expected to recover.

“The two women are very fortunate to be alive,” said Carmel Police Chief Michael Cazzari in a statement.  “Had the woman not received the garbled texts or, even having received them, had she not acted swiftly on her concern by having the friend check on her mother and grandmother, the victims would have eventually succumbed to the poison gas.”

Officials believe that the high level of carbon monoxide gas in the home was caused by a faulty connection in an exhaust pipe leading from a propane gas burner used to heat the home. According to the Carmel Volunteer Fire Department, readings taken in the house indicated a concentration level of carbon monoxide gas, which cannot be smelled or seen, in the air of 1,800 parts per million (ppm). The typical level of carbon monoxide in a home ranges from 3 to 6 ppm.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning may be flu-like and may include a reddened face, dull headache, weakness. dizziness, nausea or vomiting, shortness of breath, confusion, blurred vision and loss of consciousness. Cazzari reminded residents to ensure that they have working carbon monoxide and smoke detectors in their homes. He also reminded everyone to be sure to regularly replace batteries in detectors and to check the expiration dates on the devices.

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