LAS VEGAS (KXNT) – A family of four was taken to the hospital overnight after being overcome by carbon monoxide gas. Firefighters found the victims in different areas of the house. The carbon monoxide was produced by an outside cooking device being used in the home.
Fire dispatchers received a call that someone was sick in a home near the intersection of Vegas Drive and Decatur Boulevard at 2:17 a.m.
When firefighters arrived, they found one person in the living room and three others in bedrooms of the one story wood frame house. All were semi-conscious and had to be rescued by firefighters.
As firefighters entered the home, their air monitoring equipment detected high amounts of the poisonous carbon monoxide gas. When they were inside the home, the meter was all the way to the end, indicating a life threatening situation.
The victims were taken outside, administered oxygen and transported to the hospital in four ambulances. The family consisted of two adults and two teens.
The occupants told firefighters that they were using a charcoal grill in the living room for cooking around 7 p.m. During the night all complained of headache, feeling ill and sick. They called 9-1-1 and reported that they felt sick.
Cooking indoors with outside cooking devices is a deadly combination. Not only is it an extreme fire hazard, it also produces a deadly gas. Devices using charcoal, wood or other solid fuels or gas such as propane, butane or natural gas all produce deadly carbon monoxide gas, sometimes referred to as the “silent killer” because it is odorless, invisible or tasteless. Carbon monoxide cannot be detected except for monitoring equipment such as what the firefighters used or by a carbon monoxide alarm. All homes should have a carbon monoxide alarm, one for each level of the house.
The use of outside cooking devices and cooking inside the home is not uncommon in Las Vegas. Many cultures in other parts of the world cook in the living room, a place where the family gathers. With the highly diverse population here in Las Vegas, many people cook the way they are accustomed to. Because the homes are so extremely well insulated due to the summer heat in Las Vegas, houses here do not “breath” or have a circulation of air as what is typical in many other parts of the world. The gas accumulates inside the home to deadly levels and can last for hours. Most common areas in the home used for cooking other than the kitchen is the living room and garages. Outside cooking devices should NEVER be used inside a home.