Man in critical condition after carbon monoxide poisoning |

Man in critical condition after carbon monoxide poisoning

Bradley Foster

A broken heater flooded the home of a 20-year-old South Lake Tahoe man with carbon monoxide, which rendered him unconscious and caused serious convulsions.

The man was transported to Barton Memorial Hospital late Saturday morning, where he was stabilized and then transported to Mercy San Juan Hospital in Sacramento. He was listed in critical but stable condition Sunday evening.

A nursing supervisor at Mercy San Juan said he had improved since he was admitted but that he was still in the trauma center undergoing treatment in a hyperbaric chamber.

The man was discovered lying on the floor when his roommate’s father came to the house to gather some things for his son, who was also in the hospital with what was initially thought to be a head injury.

“By luck, by the grace of God, I went by the house to get some clothes for my son and I found the other boy hyperventilating and pretty bad off,” David Box, of Los Gatos Calif., said.

Box’s son, who is also named David, was admitted to Barton Thursday after he was found unconscious in his bed shortly after 2:30 p.m. He had fallen while snowboarding the day before and doctors assumed he was suffering from lingering head injuries. It was not until David’s roommate was found Saturday that his father became convinced he was suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning also.

The hospital could not confirm if David was diagnosed with carbon monoxide poisoning or other injuries. He was released from the hospital Sunday.

“It’s scary,” Box said. “They had been complaining about feeling weird since they moved in there.”

Box said his son moved into the house on the 3800 block of Aspen Ave. in early January.

When firefighters arrived at the house at 10:31 a.m. they detected carbon monoxide levels between 65 and 5000 parts per million. According to the Environmental Protection Agency such levels should not exceed 9 parts per million.

“Up here at the lake we see one or two serious injuries or deaths from (carbon monoxide) every year,” said Brad Piazzo of the South Lake Tahoe Fire Department. “When you have older wall heaters, or any type of heating equipment, it is best to have a qualified technician check it out to make sure it is working properly. The problem we have is that that doesn’t happen as much as it should.”

Box said his son’s home did not have carbon monoxide detectors, which can be purchased for around $40 at any hardware store. Testing kits, with which an area can be checked for the odorless tasteless gas, are also available for under $5.

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