In the week since a fatal carbon monoxide poisoning in Bethesda, rescue crews responded to two other major incidents involving the deadly gas in the area.
Shortly after midnight on Wednesday, firefighters responded to a mixed-use apartment building in the 900 block of Wayne Avenue in Silver Spring for a report of an alarm going off, Montgomery County Fire & Rescue Service spokesman Pete Piringer said. They detected a high level of carbon monoxide and evacuated the building.
Piringer said officials believe the source was a cooking gas stove. No one was taken to the hospital or displaced.
About an hour later, crews arrived at a house on the 9400 block of Worth Avenue in Silver Spring after a family called 911 when they “weren’t feeling right,” Piringer said.
“They knew there was something wrong … and they were correct,” he said.
Medics determined the family—two adults and an infant—were suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning and they were taken to a Baltimore shock trauma center, where they could be treated in an oxygen-enriched hyperbaric chamber.
They were expected to survive, Piringer said. The source of the gas was believed to be a malfunctioning furnace.
Six days before, James Baird, the leader of the Latter-Day Saints church in the Washington, D.C., area, died after being exposed to carbon monoxide in his Bethesda home. There was a gas leak in the house’s furnace, according to fire officials.
Piringer said carbon monoxide is a growing concern in winter months, when people spend more time indoors and use their furnaces and alternative heat sources that may produce the toxic, yet odorless, gas, if they aren’t working properly.
Fire officials warn that carbon monoxide poisoning often manifests with flu-like symptoms. On its website, MCFRS lists headaches, nausea, blurred vision, dizziness, drowsiness and difficulty thinking as among the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. Symptoms generally progress as exposure increases, leading to severe reactions such as the loss of consciousness or seizure.
Piringer stressed the importance of having a carbon monoxide detector in the home as the best way to detect the gas.