Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Winter is gone, carbon monoxide isn’t

ROCKFORD IL, — A toddler’s death in a motorhome this weekend from carbon monoxide poisoning is a reminder that the odorless, colorless gas is a year-round threat, Frank Schmitt of the Rockford Fire Department said Monday.

The toxic gas typically takes the spotlight during winter, when furnaces are cranked and windows are tightly sealed. But it’s just as easily inhaled during the spring and summer, sometimes in unexpected ways.

Grills, idling cars, water heaters and other appliances that run on fossil fuels can leak carbon monoxide fumes if not properly maintained, said Schmitt, the department’s fire prevention division chief. Sometimes springtime pleasures can turn deadly.

That was the case Sunday in rural Stephenson County, when carbon monoxide seeped through the floor of a family’s motor home while they slept. Stephenson County sheriff’s deputies blame a leak in the exhaust system of the motor home’s gasoline generator for poisoning Alexzander M. Huenefeld, 2, and sickening his family.
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