Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content


Hours: Mon-Fri 8 a.m - 5 p.m.


Crystal Stilwell
911 for Emergency Assistance

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Incidents



October 25, 2006 - Officer reported that occupant's CO detector went off last night. He woke up and took out the batteries and went back to bed. We responded today based upon a call from a medical facility who was treating a patient for CO exposure. Engine 21 responded and their monitoring revealed a peak CO reading of 288 PPM. The source of CO was tracked to a malfunctioning heating unit.

October 24, 2006 - Occupant reported CO alarm activation and had reading of about 50ppm in his unit. Investigation uncovered that an occupant of nearby apartment had placed charcoal grill inside his apartment. Readings in this unit were approximately 400ppm. Subject treated by EMS and transported to hospital.

July 16, 2006 - CFD responded to a CO incident at a single family dwelling. CO was detected in excess of 500 ppm. Source was determined to be a charcoal grill left in a closed attached garage.

July 9, 2006 - CFD responded to CO alarm call at an apartment building with reported symptoms of CO poisoning. CO readings of up to 1800ppm were taken and the entire building was evacuated. Firefighters identified the CO source as a generator running outside an attached storage room. An interpreter was brought to the scene to communicate the dangers of the situation.

April 07, 2006 - A family had accidentally left the car running in the garage of  the home they had just moved into this week. The car was started at approximately 2300 hours and left on until approximately 0345 hours. The house was equipped with the county ordinance required CO alarm, and that alarm alerted them to the danger. The husband woke up and when he went to investigate the alarm he smelled the exhaust fumes upstairs and remembered the car running in the garage. He moved the car out of the garage, called 9-1-1, and evacuated his family, which included a boy under the age of 2. Investigator's arrived and found CO levels in excess of 300 ppm in the bedrooms. Structure was ventilated to normal levels.

January 12, 2006 - Five workers complained of co symptoms. All had gone home after shift was over. Three workers were taken to hospital by ambulance. The other two had felt symptoms but were cleared. The three patients received breathing treatments. The fossil fuel powered pressure cleaning equipment that the crew had been using for sanitation and cleaning, contributed to dangerous build up of CO. Source removed and facility was ventilated.


December 19, 2005 - Dispatched to investigate CO alarm activation, arrived to find that a CO alarm was in the process of activating.  Elevated levels were found to be due to a fireplace flu being closed while fire was still in a smoldering state. The residence was ventilated to normal CO readings. 

March 29, 2005 – Confirmed elevated CO levels. 2 patients transported to hospital for treatment. Source of the CO identified as generator in garage hooked to an electrical panel box to power the house.

February 27, 2005 - Fire department dispatched to investigate CO alarm. Elevated levels confirmed. Mother and three children had been warming car up while car was in the garage. Area ventilated and cleared.

January 29, 2005 – Fire department dispatched to investigate CO incident in warehouse located at the rear of a retail store. 3 employees complained of headaches. Investigation indicated that the employees were taking inventory and using a torpedo style kerosene heater, because the building had no heat. The 3 employees were transported to Presbyterian Hospital. Area was ventilated and cleared.


December 1, 2004 – Fire department dispatched to investigate a CO alarm activation with no indications of any exposure symptoms to the occupants inside. Elevated levels confirmed and source identified as faulty furnace. MEDIC was dispatched to scene. One patient experienced signs of exposure with indications of nausea, dizziness and headache. There were no visible signs of exposure with a 1 year old infant girl. But both patients were taken to the hospital for observation.

June 11, 2004 - Responded to investigate CO alarm activation. CO monitor gave elevated readings. No source identified in the apartment. Upon entering encountering neighboring apartment, investigator immediately encountered smell of natural gas inside. It was concluded that the elevated CO readings were most likely due to a large volume of cigarette smoke. Apartments were ventilated and then resealed.  Readings were back to normal range.

June 7, 2004 - Fire department dispatched to CO alarm activation in commercial building. Elevated levels of CO confirmed Workers found using a gasoline operated concrete saw in an inefficiently ventilated area.  Patient was treated by MEDIC on the scene.  An electric fan was used to ventilate the business. There was no spread to adjacent stores.

January 27, 2004 – Fire department dispatched to CO alarm activation on the fourth floor of multi-family dwelling building. An initial CO reading of 50 parts per million was taken in the lobby on the ground floor. The building was evacuated and ventilated to remove the CO hazard. No injuries were encountered.

January 15, 2004 – Fire department dispatched to investigate CO alarm activation. Increased levels identified due to car in garage left running with the garage door closed.


November 27, 2003 - Resident complained of her carbon monoxide detector activating.  Upon investigation, we found her CO levels to be around 35 in the kitchen area. The resident had been cooking all day for Thanksgiving and had never had a problem prior to today. Resident advised to shut off the stove, apartment was and maintenance recommended on the appliance.

August 20, 2003 – CO alarm activated due to elevated levels. Investigation identified car running in an attached neighbor's garage.

June 20, 2003 - Charlotte, NC - Around 1:30 a.m., a 911 call was received from a woman living at the Townhomes of Ashbrook in east Charlotte reporting a sick child.  Firefighters responding to the call found CO levels to be at 868 ppm.  Another unit had a reading of more than 1200 ppm.  The source was a gas powered generator that residents in another unit were using for electricity.  The generator was in a storage closet attached to the 8 unit building at 1917 Eastway Drive.  The CO had entered the into other units through a common attic.  16 residents were taken to the hospital suffering from nausea, disorientation, and other symptom of carbon monoxide.  All were released later Thursday morning.  Because the apartments were all electric they were not required to have carbon monoxide detectors.

March 5, 2003 - Charlotte, NC - The Fire Department responded to a CO activation at 2029 Lyndhurst Av on 3/5/03.  The CO reading was 42 ppm in the house.  Asecond unit arriving on the scene confirmed that reading.  The gas furnace was determined to be the problem.  The occupants had no symptoms of CO exposure.

March 3, 2003 - Winston-Salem, NC - Santiago Castillo-Hernandez, 21, and Juan Diego Castillo-Hernandez, 17, were found dead Friday afternoon in a single bed on the top floor af a duplex, authorities said.  A third brother, Mario Castillo-Hernandez, found in the bed is in critical condition at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.  The three were overcome by carbon monoxide gas, a result of using a generator in a home left without power because of the ice storm.

February 28, 2003 - Charlotte, NC - Fire department responded to a CO activation call.  Upon arrival all subjects were out of the house.  They were awoken by the CO detector, called 911 and exited the house.  The CO reading was 74ppm.  The gas was shut off until PNG could investigate. 

February 22, 2003 - Charlotte, NC -Firefighters responding to a CO detector activation from a townhome in north Charlotte Saturday evening detected carbon monoxide present in excess of 40 ppm.

Firefighters quickly initiated a "wake up call" to the other attached townhomes.  Readings taken in an adjacent unit, which the firefighters discovered did not have the required CO detector installed, were in excess of 80 ppm.

A hibachi grill was found in the garage of the townhome with the higher CO reading. The grill had been used earlier that evening and had been brought into the garage when the weather became windy. Although the grill was no longer producing a flame, the smoldering embers were still producing CO. The firefighters determined that the CO had entered the home from the garage through the pet access door.   No symptoms associated with CO exposure were exhibited by any of the townhome residents.

January 23, 2003 - Charlotte-Mecklenburg leaders are trying to find ways to respond to more effectively to emergency situations in the future, and they are getting help from the international community who call the area home. More

January 19, 2003 - Around 9:00 a.m., Firefighters from the Plaza-Midwood station arrived at a one story house in east Charlotte after someone at the home complained of flu-like symptoms.  One of the Firefighters detected an odor that smelled like fumes from an engine driven machine.   The Firefighters detected a carbon monoxide level of 600 parts per million.  They traced the carbon monoxide to a generator in the crawl space.  Medic took three residents to the hospital for treatment where they were treated and released.


No doubt the biggest challenge for emergency workers came during Decembers ice storm that resulted in the largest number of power outages the area has experienced.  Most of the area residents experienced a power outage for some time, many for as long as a week.  Many of the people without power turned to alternate sources of heat in order to stay warm.  The Hispanic community was especially vulnerable to CO exposure and a great effort was made to increase the Hispanic community's awareness of the risks of using charcoal and gas grills indoors.  County and City Firefighters responded to over 367 carbon monoxide alarm calls between 12/4/ and 12/16.  This being the single largest incident since the regulation went into effect.

December 16, 2002 - Emergency medical personnel and firefighters were called to the scene around 2 p.m. for a reported CO poisoning.  Eight people were taken to the hospital for treatment.

December 9, 2002 - Mecklenburg Carbon Monoxide Death  Officials reported Mecklenburg county's first carbon monoxide death Sunday morning.  It happened at the Beacon Hill apartments off of South Boulevard.  The victim was from West Africa.  Investigators say she was burning charcoal inside her fireplace to keep warm.


A west Charlotte woman called the Charlotte Fire Department to report an activation of her carbon monoxide (CO) alarm. Firefighters discovered elevated levels of carbon monoxide in the home, most likely from older ventilation pipes from a gas range and gas hot water heater.

June 7, 2001 - On the morning of Thursday, June 7, the carbon monoxide alarm activated in the home of Ophelia McRae and her family. They called 911 and the Charlotte Fire Department responded immediately. Firefighters traced the source of the carbon monoxide to a gas water heater. McRae, her mother and her daughter went to the emergency room at Carolinas Medical Center suffering
from headaches. All were treated and releas ed.

April 18, 2001 - An 80-year old woman was found dead of CO poisoning on Wednesday, April 18, 2001 in the garage of a townhouse at 1115 Hampton Gardens Lane.  The Charlotte Fire Department says the source of the carbon monoxide was a vehicle with a garden hose inserted into the tailpipe.  Two men in a neighboring townhouse were treated at Carolinas Medical Center for CO poisoning and carbon monoxide was found throughout the building.  Both men are expected to make a full recovery.  Their townhouse was not equipped with a carbon monoxide alarm.


  • A man visits a building supply company and sees the display for Carbon Monoxide alarms.  He purchases one even though he does not think he will ever need it.  Several weeks later, the alarm sounds alerting him to a cracked heat exchanger in his furnace.  He credits the alarm with saving the lives of his family.

  • A lady experiences flu-like symptoms and a coworker suggests that she may need to get a Carbon Monoxide alarm.  She purchases an alarm, and upon installation, it sounds.  She spends the night in a motel.  A repairman inspects her 36 year old heating system the next day and finds four cracks that were spewing Carbon Monoxide.

  • A family is sick and a lady in the family believes she smells natural gas.  The gas utility and Fire Department investigate and discover high levels of Carbon Monoxide.  The entire family is treated for poisoning.  Although she had not purchased an alarm, her increased awareness of a potential CO problem saved the lives of her family.

  • A fireman purchases a CO alarm and installs it in his home.  When he is out of town, the alarm sounds and the subsequent investigation reveals a cracked heat exchanger in his heating unit.  Because of the alarm his wife and son were warned and spared of the dangerous effects of Carbon Monoxide exposure.

  • Reluctantly, a man, to comply with the new CO regulations, adds Carbon Monoxide monitoring to his home security system. At the time he doesn't believe the system will ever be needed.  The next day, the alarm sounds and responders find 59 ppm CO even after his home has been ventilated.  A cracked heat exchanger on his heating system is identified as the cause of the problem.  After the fact, his wife notes that she has been bothered by frequent headaches.

  • On April 17, 2000, Mallard Creek VFD responds to a call for CO alarm activation in a residence.  The owner, a female senior citizen, reported a CO reading of 140 on the alarm's LED panel. The the house was ventilated but continued to alarm continued to sound.  Subsequent investigation narrowed the problem source to either the automobile in the garage or a gas dryer, as the occupant had used both recently.  Detailed investigation at the dryer area yielded escalating CO readings.  A disconnected dryer vent was soon discovered and identified as the source of the problem.  The occupant reported feeling no ill effects, so early warning from the CO alarm averted a potentially life threatening situation.

Prior to Year 2000

  • During a winter snowstorm, a local family suffers a power outage.  They solve this by using a gasoline generator, but so as not to disturb the neighbors, move the generator into the garage and close the garage door.  Later, when their CO alarm sounds, they call the Fire Department. The generator is moved outside and the garage ventilated after identifying the CO risk and level.  In this case,  the presence of a CO alarm allowed the problem to be addressed before the health of the occupants were dangerously threatened. 

  • During a winter power outage, in the absence of utilities, a family uses a portable kerosene heater.  An elderly bed ridden man displays flu-like symptoms and his condition continues to deteriorate.  The other occupant also begins to feel poorly and calls Medic.  Responders measure very high CO levels and idetify both residents to be at risk from CO.  Both receive several days of hospital treatment for Carbon Monoxide poisoning.

  • A close call at a local apartment project is discovered by firefighters on July 9, 1999. A resident goes out of town and asks a neighbor to check on the unit and also periodically run the car in the garage to charge its battery.  The neighbor drops by the unit, starts the car, but fails to turn it off the engine.  In adjacent units, 6 residents are evacuated and treated for symptoms of CO poisoning.

  • In July, 1999, four Charlotteans died when a car was left running overnight in one garage of a 4-unit condominium complex. Two people died in the unit to which the garage was attached, and two people in an adjacent unit were overcome by CO fumes and died in their sleep. Three more people in the condo complex were treated for CO poisoning. 

  • 4 deaths at a local condominium are discovered by the Fire Department on June 24, 1999.  A resident apparently returns for the evening, pulls the car into the garage, closes the garage door and fails to turn off the engine of the quietly running car.  The car runs for an undetermined length of time before the sprinkler system in the garage.  The resident and a roommate die of CO. In the adjacent unit, two other people also die of CO.  Two doors away, 3 residents display symptoms and are treated for CO poisoning.



Hours: Mon-Fri 8 a.m - 5 p.m.


Crystal Stilwell
911 for Emergency Assistance