One person is confirmed dead while a second remains in critical condition due to suspected carbon monoxide poisoning. Both were found unconscious inside their home early Sunday afternoon.
A third resident at the Vista Peak Apartments, located in the area of Academy and Galley, started developing a headache, and put two and two together after his carbon monoxide detector went off. The Colorado Springs Fire Department was called to the complex. Once on scene, firefighters began checking other buildings and came across one where numerous alarms were going off. The two unconscious victims were discovered inside one of the units.
CSFD then called a HAZMAT team to the scene to help with checking carbon monoxide levels. A number of residents had to be evacuated.
Hours later, firefighters returned to the same complex on new reports of carbon monoxide.
Sarah Woods told 11 News that after learning that one of the apartment residents had died from suspected carbon monoxide poisoning, her neighbor bought her a carbon monoxide detector that very afternoon.
When Woods fired up her furnace, the brand new detector immediately sounded the crucial alarm.
"If my neighbor had not bought me that, me and my family would've been dead,” Woods said.
Woods and her two kids rushed outside and called 911. The carbon monoxide levels were determined too high for the family to stay there Sunday night.
The Fire Department tells 11 News that the tragedy Sunday is sadly not uncommon at this time of year. The department is flooded with calls about carbon monoxide after the first cold snap of the year, as it is generally the first time in months that heaters and furnaces get turned back on. Investigators believe the complex's heaters were the culprit Sunday.
Carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless, and its symptoms can start out mild, such as simply having a headache. It's critical if you live in a home where carbon monoxide could be a risk, that you have a detector. They can be purchased for about $25 at Home Depot. Experts recommend a detector that can both be plugged in and operate on a battery, in case one of the power sources is knocked out.
Besides headaches, other symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include dizziness, nausea, vomiting and chest pain, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Unconsciousness and death can occur with high levels of carbon monoxide. Click here for more information.