Gas leak prompts safety advice from firefighters

Posted at 9:17 PM, Mar 13, 2013
and last updated 2013-03-13 23:17:18-04

KEARNS, Utah -- A carbon monoxide leak at a home in Kearns sent four people to the hospital on Wednesday, and firefighters have said the incident should serve as an important reminder for folks to install CO detectors in their homes.

A Questar Gas technician responded to the home with the leak, and he rescued an unconscious man from the basement of the home, were high levels of CO were detected.

The homeowner in Wednesday’s incident woke up with a headache, and so did her children. She was worried, so she called Questar Gas.

“My sister-in-law and my niece and nephew are at one hospital, and then my brother-in-law is at another hospital,” she said.

CO is odorless, colorless and tasteless, so without the right equipment the deadly gas is impossible to detect. The family told firefighters they had recently changed the batteries in their CO detectors, and they don’t know why the devices didn’t work.

Jasen Asay, Salt Lake City Fire Department, said carbon monoxide comes from many places.

“There are a lot of sources of carbon monoxide in our home: the water heater, the furnace, wood burning fire places, some appliances—such as refrigerators and freezers—can all put the gas out into our house,” he said. “If the gas isn't being vented properly out of the house it can build up, and that's when the detector will go off.”

CO detectors can be purchased at most local hardware stores. It is suggested that people have at least one detector at every level of their home. Experts also suggest placing detectors near the water heater and furnace as well as near bedrooms.

Zach Butters, South Fork Hardware, said the devices are easy to install. He said the important thing is to remember to change the batteries when needed.

“They are very reliable they work great,” he said. “You have some with voice activation systems. Some of them just beep at you. You can choose based on the prices, and they work great.”