The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

January 7, 2014

Two people treated for carbon monoxide effects

JOHNSTOWN — Two people were taken to the hospital for potential carbon monoxide poisoning after emergency responders were summoned to a Richland Township home Tuesday morning.

Otherwise, hospital officials in Cambria, Somerset and Bedford counties said frigid conditions had largely spared the region’s residents from harm through Tuesday afternoon at a time below zero temperatures were widespread.

In the Richland Township incident, two Chrysler Avenue residents and a family dog were evacuated from their home Tuesday morning due to reported carbon monoxide poisoning, Richland fire Chief Todd Shaffer said.

“We’re not sure if that’s what the problem is with the patients, but we did have high levels of carbon monoxide in the residence,”  Shaffer said. “The family dog was taken to Richland Veterinary and the two residents were taken to Conemaugh (Memorial Medical Center).”

One man was “unstable” as he was trying to exit the residence, Shaffer said.

“When we were bringing the one victim out ... we had to help him to the ambulance,” Shaffer said, noting he did not have condition information on either of the residents.

Dr. Dan Wehner of Memorial Medical Center said the hospital was treating a family for carbon monoxide poisoning Tuesday afternoon.

He said it was the only apparent weather-related admission at the Johnstown hospital. Memorial Medical Center staff as well as officials at UPMC Bedford, Miners Medical Center in Hastings, Somerset Hospital and Windber Medical Center said they received no reports of hypothermia or frostbite.

“(The weather) is keeping more people away than it is bringing them in,” Miners Medical Center Nursing Supervisor Connie Hromoko said, noting numerous office appointments and procedures were canceled because of the weather.

“I think the media did a great job warning people about being careful ... and it seems like they listened,” said Jay Knarr, business development and marketing director at Windber Medical Center.

“I can’t remember the last time we’ve seen temperatures this cold,” he added.

Emergency responders were called to a home in Upper Yoder Township earlier in the morning for another potential carbon monoxide problem. They arrived to find a malfunctioning carbon monoxide detector at the residence, a firefighter said.

Fire officials warned that portable heaters, which many people are using in the extreme conditions, can lead to carbon monoxide issues. Residents are urged to use a meter that can warn of dangerous carbon monoxide levels.

Cambria 911 officials said they received a few reports about power outages in the region, including one in Portage and another in East Taylor Township on Tuesday, but both were apparently repaired by lunchtime.


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