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Surviving carbon monoxide - the Silent Killer

Surviving carbon monoxide - the Silent Killer

A Jefferson City family's nearly disasterous holiday offers a sobering lesson

December 6th, 2010 in News

Shawn and Tracy Chilton play with their daughter, Zoe, in their Jefferson City home. The family survived carbon monoxide poisoning over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Photo by Leah Freeze

The Chilton family felt the typical feasting fatigue after their Thanksgiving meal. But if they had given in to their sleepiness, they might not have awakened.

The colorless, odorless, tasteless gas known as the Silent Killer had been seeping from a leak in the hot water heater.

Carbon monoxide levels measured 200 inside the house, and 300 in the garage.

Read the full story in our newspaper or e-Edition for Monday, Dec. 6, 2010.


Carbon monoxide is undetectable by the human eye or touch, so a monitor is a must-have.

Jason Turner, public education officer for the Jefferson City Fire Department, recommends installing a carbon monoxide monitor in your home, just as you would a smoke detector. Follow the manufacturer's instructions.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are similar to the flu - headache, fatigue, nausea, dizziness. The higher the level of the exposure, the worse the symptoms are, Turner added. A few hours of heavy exposure can be fatal.

If you think you've been exposed to carbon monoxide, get out of the house immediately and into fresh air. Call 911 and stay out of the house, Turner said.