DUMONT, N.J. -- A Dumont family of four cooking its Thanksgiving turkey in the oven overnight could've died if police equipped with detectors hadn't found unsafe levels of carbon monoxide in their house, authorities said.
The four -- ranging from 5 to 74 years old -- were taken to Englewood Hospital and Medical Center, where they were expected to make a full recovery, said Edward Tapanes, captain of the Dumont Volunteer Ambulance Corps.
Corps members and police were dispatched to the New Milford Avenue home in the first few hours of the holiday Thursday on a report of someone with chest pains having difficulty breathing.
Responding police officers "were immediately notified by their carbon monoxide detectors that there were unsafe levels of CO in the house," Tapanes said.
The Dumont VAC had donated enough CO detectors to equip every patrol car in town about 18 months ago, the captain explained.
Police got every out and found and, in addition to the original patient, found other family members "showing varying symptoms of CO poisoning," he said.
Dumont firefighters and additional EMS units were summoned.
Firefighters ultimately found close to 100 parts per million in the house -- due to a faulty oven.
It's a dangerous number, by any measure.
Carbon monoxide is colorless, odorless and poisonous. It can be produced by appliances fueled by natural gas, liquified petroleum, oil, kerosene, coal or wood. Burning charcoal and running vehicle engines also produce it.
As CO levels increase above 70PPM, symptoms may become more noticeable (headache, fatigue, nausea). As CO levels increase above 150, victims can become disoriented, unconscious -- and even die.
"This illustrates the importance of early detection," Tapanes said. "Had our police not had the CO detectors with them, the original patient would’ve been transported to the hospital and the rest of the family would’ve gone to sleep in the carbon monoxide-filled house."
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