Local/State

Family escapes CO poisoning in Chester

Monday, January 28, 2013

A Delaware County family is still alive tonight, even though a defect in their home that had been slowly poisoning them for days.

It was a very close call for the families in this twin home this morning. They called for emergency help as the two houses filled up with deadly carbon monoxide gas.

Medics loaded family members into ambulances. They were nauseous and had severe headaches, which are typical symptoms of carbon monoxide according to Chester Fire Chief James Johnson.

Luckily, none of the victims lost consciousness. They were taken to the hospital for treatment. Relatives say they're doing well.

The residents had apparently been experiencing minor symptoms for a couple of days. But, it got so bad this morning that they called 911.

Rescue workers ventilated the houses with high-powered fans.

When it was safe to go inside, inspectors discovered a leak in the chimney liner that allowed the carbon monoxide to seep into the houses. Heating expert John Costa with Horizon Services tells us it's an all too common problem.

When a furnace is replaced, the contractor sometimes cuts costs by failing to install a new chimney liner. When the weather turns cold like it did last week, moisture in the old liner can freeze and cause it to crack, and that allows carbon monoxide to infiltrate the house.

The housing inspector says it was a close call this morning.

PECO has shut off the natural gas to the house. It won't be turned back on until the landlord installs a new chimney liner.

In the meantime, the residents will have to rely on space heaters. A small inconvenience after escaping with their lives here this morning.

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