Charlotte, NC - March 29, 2005 - An incident in east Charlotte on the morning of Tuesday, March 29 emphasizes the importance having a carbon monoxide alarm in your residence, and not operating CO producing equipment inside.
Mecklenburg County EMS reports that it transported two residents from a home on Lake Forest Drive to area hospitals with carbon monoxide poisoning. The Charlotte Fire Department reports a generator had been running inside the garage. The home had no carbon monoxide alarm.
The Mecklenburg County Health Department reminds residents that ALL homes in the County are required to have an operating CO alarm. Fuel-burning appliances such as furnaces, gas ranges/stoves, gas clothes dryers and water heaters are all sources of carbon monoxide (CO). Fireplaces, charcoal grills, wood-burning stoves, kerosene heaters and vehicles, generators and other combustion engines running in an attached garage - even when an outside door is open - also produce CO.
INTERVIEW OPPORTUNITY: To explain Mecklenburg County’s carbon monoxide ordinance and answer questions, Health Director Dr. Wynn Mabry will be available at 11 a.m. at the scene at 6426 Lake Forest Drive, Charlotte.
CO is the number one cause of poisoning deaths in the United States, with more than 3,800 people known to die annually from CO poisoning. Young children, pregnant women, senior citizens and people with heart or respiratory problems are especially vulnerable to CO poisoning.
On January 1, 2004, an ordinance went into effect requiring ALL dwelling units must contain at least one operable carbon monoxide alarm. These alarms must be battery-powered or have a battery back up. Owners were allowed one year to become compliant before enforcement action, so all dwellings must be compliant by January 1, 2005. CO is a poison that is produced when fuels such as gasoline, charcoal, kerosene, etc., are burned. It can rapidly accumulate even in areas that might appear well ventilated. Because CO is colorless, tasteless, odorless and non-irritating, it can overcome an exposed person without warning. It frequently produces weakness and confusion, depriving the person of the ability to seek safety.
A CO alarm can be purchased at local home improvement and discount stores for $20 to $50. For more information about CO or the revised ordinance, visit the Health Department's CO poisoning prevention Web site at