NANTUCKET(CBS) – Carbon monoxide exposure sent 15 people to the hospital Saturday morning.

State Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan, Nantucket Police Chief William J. Pittman, and Nantucket Fire Chief Mark C. McDougall say police officers and firefighters responded to the home at 40 Macy Lane.

Inside, they found five people in the basement that they described as “incapacitated” from carbon monoxide poisoning.

WBZ-TV’s Jim Smith reports.

Six other people were evacuated from the upstairs floors, all with symptoms.  All 11 victims were transported to Nantucket Cottage Hospital. From there, the hospital says at least four were flown to Boston hospitals.

Tests by firefighters found the highest carbon monoxide readings in the basement.

The levels were metered at over 380 PPM, well above the 22 PPM deemed safe by the federal government.

nantucketcopoisioning041611 Chief: 11 People Close To Death In Nantucket CO Poisoning

Rescuers transport a carbon monoxide victim to an awaiting medical helicopter at Nantucket Cottage Hospital on Saturday, April 16, 2011. (Photo by David G. Curran/

The four police officers and one firefighter who rescued victims from the basement were evaluated at hospital for carbon monoxide exposure.

“This mass casualty incident stretched island emergency medical service resources to their limit,” said Chief McDougall. “I am pleased at the extraordinary efforts of our firefighter/EMTs to manage this incident and it appears it has a positive outcome for the injured as well.”

Chief Pittman added, “I am extremely proud of the exemplary actions of the Nantucket Police Officers who put themselves in harm’s way to rescue the occupants of the basement apartment who seemed close to death.”

State Police was sending detectives, arson investigators, and crime scene techs to the scene.

Earlier, they tweeted that a fire may have also contributed to the situation. Investigators now say that a faulty heater and furnace is most likely to blame.

The house did not have functioning detectors. “This is a reminder why it is so important to have working carbon monoxide detectors,” said Chief Coan in a news release. “The CO detectors in the home did not have functioning batteries and 11 people came close to death.”

Three people remained in the hospital as of late Saturday night.


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