On Friday, November 3, 2023, at approximately 11:13 p.m., firefighters from from Bay District, Second District, NAS Patuxent River and surrounding EMS companies were dispatched for a residential gas leak in the 21000 block of Gambier Place in Lexington Park.
Upon arrival, the first responders discovered that all four occupants of the residence, consisting of two adults and two children, had safely evacuated the premises but were exhibiting symptoms of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.
The crews immediately entered the home and detected alarmingly high CO levels of 500 parts per million (PPM), coinciding with the presence of a running generator in the basement.
Preliminary investigations revealed that the residence had lost power, and the occupants were utilizing one or more gas generators in the basement to power essential appliances.
In response to the severity of the situation, Maryland State Police Helicopters Trooper 6 and Trooper 7 were summoned to provide assistance. Trooper 7 facilitated the transportation of two pediatric patients for precautionary evaluation, while the adult patient chose to self-transport to the trauma center, leading to the cancellation of Trooper 6's mission.
Fire and rescue personnel diligently worked at the scene for approximately 45 minutes to ensure the safety of all affected individuals.
Our dedicated First Responders emphasize the importance of taking preventative measures to safeguard your household against the hidden danger of CO poisoning. It's crucial to remember that using alternative power sources, like generators, can lead to the accumulation of lethal carbon monoxide (CO) fumes within your home. Never operate a generator within enclosed spaces, such as your house, basement, or attached garage. More information on CO safety can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/co/guidelines.htm.
Regrettably, each year, the United States witnesses the loss of at least 430 lives due to accidental CO poisoning, and approximately 50,000 individuals find themselves in emergency departments for CO-related incidents. For further details, please refer to https://www.cdc.gov/co/faqs.htm.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is notoriously known as the "silent killer" because it lacks color, odor, and taste, making it impossible to detect without specialized monitoring equipment. A functioning CO alarm is the most effective tool residents can employ to alert them to the presence of this deadly gas.
The health effects and symptoms associated with Carbon Monoxide (CO) poisoning vary depending on the levels of exposure, the duration of exposure, the age of the individuals affected, and their overall health. CO concentration is typically measured in parts per million (PPM). In the range of 1 to 70 PPM, symptoms are uncertain, and most people may not experience noticeable effects. As CO levels surpass 70 PPM, symptoms become more apparent, including headaches, fatigue, and nausea. When CO levels exceed 150 to 200 PPM and persist at these levels, the gas can be lethal, leading to symptoms like disorientation, unconsciousness, and, in severe cases, even death.