Woodburn, OR – Seven people were in the hospital Sunday night with carbon monoxide poisoning, according to Woodburn Fire Chief Joe Budge.
“Just got off a conference call with PGE and they were calling it a 50-year storm,” Budge said.
This leaves many people to rely on propane and generators for heat and power. However, relying on these can lead to tragic accidents.
“So, we had three adults and four children get transported to Salem Hospital. They had carbon monoxide poisoning. They were doing some cooking with a propane cooker inside the house,” Budge said.
Budge said those seven people were all unconscious when first responders arrived. He said the children were revived on the scene, but two of the three adults were in critical condition at last check.
He said these accidents are more common when people are without power. On Sunday alone, Woodburn fire responded to three carbon monoxide incidents. Fortunately, the other two were not as serious.
“People don’t understand that that does produce – carbon monoxide is odorless, tasteless. They won’t know it’s being produced until it’s too late,” he said.
If you are relying on propane and generators as you wait for your power to be restored, Budge offers some advice for how to avoid an accident like this one:
“If you’re cooking with anything with an open flame it needs to be outside, it can’t be indoors and if you’re running a generator, make sure it’s away from the house and well ventilated,” Budge said.
Budge said because carbon monoxide is odorless, you should keep an eye out for symptoms like a headache. If you do experience that after using propane or a generator incorrectly, he said ventilate the area and call 911.