Sacramento, CA – The person who died Wednesday of carbon monoxide poisoning in Old North Sacramento has been identified by the coroner’s office as a 61-year-old man.
Angel Barrios Tellez was pronounced dead at the scene Wednesday evening in his first-floor apartment in a complex on the 700 block of Lampasas Avenue, authorities said.
Barrios Tellez was discovered by a PG&E technician working on an unrelated matter in a different apartment unit, according to Sacramento Fire Department Capt. Keith Wade.
Wade said the apartment unit had a carbon monoxide detector, but it has not yet been determined by investigators whether it was functioning.
Every living area of your home should have one, Wade said. They call it the silent killer.
The building was evacuated Wednesday evening and all apartment units were cleared, checked and determined to be safe.
Wade says it was possible that small increases in carbon monoxide, or CO, could potentially have leaked into adjacent apartment units and could have dissipated while authorities evacuated and ventilated the building, but that none of the neighbors reported any symptoms indicating poisoning.
A safe carbon monoxide reading is under 10 parts per million, Wade said. Anything above 25 ppm is cause for investigation. The gas is odorless and colorless.
Wade said carbon monoxide level in Barrios Tellez’s apartment was recorded at about 400 ppm.
Exposure to that level over time will result in probable death, Wade said.
Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include nausea, decreased sense of consciousness and increased frequency of headaches. Wade said severe poisoning can lead the skin to become cherry red, but that’s when you’re at toxic levels where death is on its way.
Wade stressed the importance of having a regularly maintained carbon monoxide detector in one’s home, and to check the batteries frequently and be familiar with how the device works. He also encouraged Sacramento residents to check Pacific Gas and Electric Co.’s tips and recommendations for appliances, and to avoid doing things like turning on a stove to heat one’s home.
Wade reminded that although it’s not a particularly common occurrence in Sacramento, carbon monoxide kills more than 400 people nationwide each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC says a further 50,000 Americans visit an emergency room each year due to accidental CO poisoning.