Heating System Blamed After CO Incident Puts Family Of 5 In Hospital

SMITHFIELD, Rhode Island (CBS) — Fire officials said a blocked heating system was the cause after two adults and three children were poisoned by carbon monoxide at a home in Smithfield Wednesday night.

Smithfield Fire Chief Robert Seltzer confirmed Thursday morning that the home on Pleasant View Avenue had no working CO detectors.

Seltzer said the father of the family was working in the garage of the home, and quickly realized something was wrong when he went back into the house.

Firefighters respond to Smithfield, RI home after CO incident (WBZ-TV)

Firefighters respond to Smithfield, RI home after CO incident (WBZ-TV)

The father called 911 around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, and pulled his wife and children out of the home. The chief said the wife and children were unconscious when taken from the scene, but that crews were able to resuscitate the wife, who remains unconscious.

The children, aged 7, 9, and 11, were all brought to Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence, where they are awake and in stable condition. The mother and father were taken to Fatima Hospital, but the father has since been released and is with the children.

Inside the home, firefighters found soot, which is indicative of a heating system failure.

“We are ventilating the house to get all the carbon monoxide out of the house,” Chief Seltzer said. “The levels were extremely high. We had readings up to 499 parts per million. The initial readings going into the house were over 700, so that’s very very high … Typically when we get over 35, 40 parts per million, we get worried about it.”

Investigators are trying to figure out what exactly caused the block, and how long carbon monoxide was pouring into the home.

Seltzer said the family rents the home from the Greenfield Public Library. He added that his department would install CO and fire alarms for free, as they don’t want to see tragedies like this happen.

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