Quincy family falls ill during carbon monoxide scare - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Quincy family falls ill during carbon monoxide scare

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QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) - Quincy firefighters say one family is lucky to be alive, after they found the highest carbon monoxide levels they had ever seen inside the family's home.  Firefighters say it was all caused by a blocked chimney.

Quincy Fire Department Lt. Jason Steinkamp said firefighters were called to the home at 1237 N. 5th St. just after 10 a.m. Saturday morning. He said the family that lived there became ill Friday night and left the house. It wasn't until they returned Saturday morning that they decided to call the fire department.

"My daughter said that I didn't look right," Quincy Resident Melissa Roberts said. "That's when I passed out and hit my head."

The air coming out of the vents in Roberts' home Friday night nearly killed her, along with her daughter and her daughter's friends.

"It's just crazy because the fire department wouldn't even go in without masks on and we were all in there." Roberts said. "It's scary."

Steinkamp said firefighters have a policy not to enter an area with a carbon monoxide level greater than 30 parts per million.

Brian Terstegge with Air Specialist Heating and Air Conditioning in Quincy says the condensation build he found on the inside windows of Roberts' house, was a tell-tale sign of carbon monoxide poisoning.

"The basement itself hit over 756 parts per million in carbon monoxide," Terstegge said. "The upstairs was at 200. Thirty and above is the danger levels."

In his 30 years of doing this, Terstegge says he's never seen anything like what he saw down in Roberts' basement.

"On the concrete foundation on the wall, it was spilling over there," Terstegge said. "At that point in time I shut the furnace down and said, 'We need to get out of the house.'"

The main danger of carbon monoxide being that you can't see it or smell it.

"The main thing is to get out right away," Assistant Fire Chief Tom Bentley said. "If you have high levels like that, you don't have time to spend in the home."

With a carbon monoxide detector now plugged in and a new furnace being installed, Roberts hopes other people learn from her mistakes.

"I should have been having my furnace checked," Roberts said. "I just kind of blew it off and learned the hard way."

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