Uptick in Springfield carbon monoxide incidents this winter
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WICS) —
A late-night carbon monoxide leak puts two parents and their child in the hospital just last weekend.
Officials said carbon monoxide poisoning is more common than you may think, and they’re working to keep residents safe.
In the past two weeks, there have been about a dozen emergency calls related to carbon monoxide.
Springfield's Fire Marshal said an incident last Sunday, on the last day of 2017, left three people fighting for their lives, parents and their child.
"The last two weeks of December,” said Fire Marshal Chris Richmond. “And the first week of January we have seen an uptick in carbon monoxide calls."
He said it's not just safety; It's Illinois law, but it’s not well known. When asked, only one of three homeowners knew of any details to the carbon monoxide regulations.
In 2007, an Act passed requiring landlords and homeowners to have CO detectors in all homes and hotels within 15 feet of every sleeping space.
"The tenant should know,” said Barb Krueger a landlord who works at the Real Estate Group. “It should be common knowledge talking about this when they sign a lease, and more importantly for the landlord to follow up because if something happens, it's on you if a family gets sick or worse than that."
However, some places may be exempt under three conditions: the unit doesn't use fossil fuels for heating and therefore relies on electric, doesn't have an attached garage, and isn't close to any ventilated CO source.
Officials said close calls happen throughout the year.
"It was an old furnace,” said one local mother Cindy Beeler. “We had just moved into the house, and it all of a sudden it stopped working, and there was a crack in the furnace we didn't know it, so when they came to work on the furnace we found out so it could have been really bad."
One Springfield grandfather said he makes sure the batteries are working.
"I want my family to be around a long time,” said Roy Newman. “And I want them to stay healthy and whole."
The fire marshal said the detector could be the difference between life and death.
"We're looking forward to a new year,” he said. “And installing smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms."
Just two years ago, fire officials said someone died from a carbon monoxide-related incident in Springfield.
The say, remember to install the detector or ask your landlord for it.
The fire department launched a "Home Safety, Visit Program", two years ago where firefighters would install detectors in Springfield for free.
They've already put in over 300 carbon monoxide detectors.
Their goal this year is to visit 500 homes.
For this, all you have to do is contact the Springfield Fire Department at (217) 788-8474.