Photo from BC EHS

Barriere family airlifted to Vancouver due to carbon monoxide exposure

All members were in stable condition before being transported

A family of five from Barriere has been transported to Vancouver for medical treatment after high levels of carbon monoxide were detected in their house.

Ashley Wohlgemuth, fire chief with the Barriere Fire Department, said a call was received at roughly 7:30 a.m. Thursday and when the fire department arrived the family had already made it out of the house and into the ambulance.

“The levels of carbon monoxide were quite high inside the house, so because of that they’re getting airlifted down to Vancouver to get further treatment down there,” Wohlgemuth said, adding all members of the family were in stable condition when they left Barriere.

“Vancouver has something called a hyperbaric chamber, so there they can do therapy for decompression sickness, and with carbon monoxide poisoning quite often they’ll have to do that; if the levels are quite high, they’ll have to use the hyperbaric chambers to make sure their oxygen levels are all up to par.”

Wohlgemuth added the cause of the carbon monoxide leak is unknown at this time, but an investigation will be done later in the day.

Those exposed to high levels of carbon monoxide will feel drowsy, but generally will not realize the gas is even in the air, said Wohlgemuth.

“You just get really tired from it.”

Luckily there was a working carbon monoxide detector in the house, she said, and this case is a good reminder for others to make sure they have working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in their homes.

“This time of year it’s not uncommon for these kinds of things to happen with people using more heating sources.”

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