Niles, IL- An elderly woman and her adult son were hospitalized during last week’s subzero temperatures after their Niles home filled with high levels of carbon monoxide from a running car, the village’s fire chief said.

Paramedics responding to a call of an unresponsive person on the 8900 block of Heathwood Circle on the afternoon of Jan. 31 recorded elevated levels of carbon monoxide on their portable monitors when they entered the home, said Niles Fire Chief Marty Feld.


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A woman, believed to be in her early 90s, was unconscious when paramedics arrived and her son, in his 50s, was feeling ill as well, Feld said. Both were taken to a hospital, but their conditions were not known this week.

A car was discovered running inside the residents’ attached garage, which was closed, the fire chief said. It is believed the car had been running for approximately eight hours, Feld added.

Carbon monoxide was also detected inside a townhouse unit connected to the affected residence, he said.

“It did penetrate the neighboring unit, but it was not dangerous levels of carbon monoxide,” Feld said.

Feld cautioned residents against leaving their cars running inside enclosed garages. If cars need to warmed up on cold days, they should be left outside, he said.

During and immediately following last week’s cold snap, when temperatures plunged well below zero, the Niles Fire Department responded to nearly a dozen calls of broken water pipes and several instances of residents with heating issues, Feld said. Some of the heating problems included a furnace pilot light that needed re-lighting, or condensation in a vent leading to the outside of the home, he said.

“For the most part, we were able to resolve the issue they had,” Feld said,