Dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) -Carbon monoxide can be a silent killer, as it is a colorless, tasteless, and odorless, yet highly toxic gas.

According to Jeremy Cleaton, the battalion chief at Greenville Fire/Rescue, most carbon monoxide poisoning cases arise from improper insulation, equipment malfunctions, or a stove or a car left on for a long time in an enclosed space.

Despite its high risk, carbon monoxide poisoning can be preventable.

“With an extreme amount of carbon monoxide in a home or a tight space, death can come in a matter of minutes. So, we want to make sure you have a carbon monoxide detector in your home,” Cleaton said.

According to Cleaton, Greenville Fire/Rescue reported 19 carbon monoxide cases in the past two years.

On Wednesday, autopsy results confirmed the deaths of three Camp Lejeune Marines this summer were from carbon monoxide poisoning after the car ignition was left on with the air conditioning running. What made it so dangerous was the exhaust pipes were not connected and rusted.

Colby Pugh, a car mechanic says it is important to get your car regularly checked in the cold weather, for several reasons, not just the exhaust system.

“If you don’t get your car inspected regularly, let’s say your anti-freeze is not in good condition for the cold weather, you’re driving down the road, you can overheat the engine, you can cause major engine problems,” Pugh explained.

According to Pugh’s, a good time to get a regular check-up is every 10 to 20 thousand miles in the winter.

According to the CDC, symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are mostly “flu-like,” including headaches and an upset stomach, but people who are sleeping or who have been drinking alcohol may not experience symptoms before death.