LANSING (WILX)-- A group of people were rushed to the hospital early this morning after barely escaping a home filled with carbon monoxide.
The house on lansing's south side contained dangerously high levels of the gas. Lansing firefighters tell News 10 that the residents almost didn't make it out alive.
Those living in the home had become violently ill due to carbon monoxide poisoning. Fortunately one of the seven who had become sick was able to pick up a phone and call 9-1-1. But it had gotten so bad that even the caller had difficulty asking for help.
"The caller had difficulty speaking, a little confusion on their part ," said Lansing Firefighter Steve Babcock.
The fire department suspected soon after they got to the house around 2:45 am that it was more than just the flu.
"They knew they had a sick building and that was a tip off. Having that many people sick at the same time is an indication we should check the air," said Babcock.
The residents were initially transported to Sparrow Hospital, but have since been taken to Grand Rapids to undergo oxygen therapy.
"The reason why (they were transported) was the extreme high concentration of Carbon Monoxide in their blood stream. The only way we could reduce it in a timely manner was through hyperbolic treatment," said Sparrow Medical Director Dr. Timothy Hodge.
Doctors say they should be okay.
Officials haven't been able to tell us the ages of the seven people, or if they were a family. The cause of the gas leak is being investigated.
"It's not something you can detect. You can't smell it, taste it, or feel it. C-O is a byproduct of incomplete combustion. We find it in faulty furnaces, faulty gas and water heaters. A gas stove would be an example," saod Babcock.
At high levels carbon monoxide poisoning can happen within minutes, and is basically starving the body of oxygen.
"When there is Carbon Monoxide in our bodies it binds to those red blood cells. So the red blood cells can no longer carry oxygen. It's almost like cellular asphyxiation," said Dr. Hodge.
Symptoms that you want to watch out for are headaches, vomiting, nausea, chest pain, and shortness of breath.
Having carbon monoxide detectors in your home is the best line of defense. Make sure that you have multiple ones in your home. The fire department suggests one for every level, if not every room.
Don't put them on the ceiling. Eye level or lower is best, since the gas is slightly heavier than air.And make sure you are having your furnaces, gas stoves, checked regularly for leaks.
Carbon monoxide detectors cost anywhere from $15 to $50 dollars. There's also a new combination smoke detector and carbon monixide detector. You can find those at hardware stores.