WDAY: The News Leader

Published December 25, 2011, 02:26 PM

Moorhead Man Died of Possible Carbon-Monoxide Poisoning

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - An elderly Moorhead man died of possible carbon-monoxide poisoning today.

An elderly Moorhead man died of possible carbon-monoxide poisoning today. Fire officials believe a car was left running in the garage. The man died in a chair near his front door.

Investigators will wait until an autopsy to determine the official cause of death, but Carbon Monoxide levels were at 400-parts-per-million inside the home. Toxicity starts at 50 and with the holidays right around the corner, fire officials say it's a good time for a reminder about Carbon Monoxide Safety.

Ryan Muchow – Moorhead Fire Dept: “We had high levels of carbon monoxide which were high enough where we had to back out and put on our respiratory equipment before we could go any further.”

It's something easily overlooked, but the colorless, odorless gas can be deadly. According to the CDC, Carbon-Monoxide poisoning results in about 500 unintended deaths in the U-S each year.

Ryan Muchow – Moorhead Fire Dept: “The sources come from the combustion process whether it be natural gas, wood-burning stoves, cook tops that are run by natural gas.”

Average Carbon Monoxide levels in homes should be between 0.5 and 5 parts-per-million. Direct car exhaust usually gives off about 7,000. At that level, convulsions, respiratory arrest and death happens in less than 20-minutes.

Ryan Muchow – Moorhead Fire Dept: “Even warming up a car in the garage, there can be enough draw into the home that can elevate levels of CO.”

Moorhead Fire Captain Ryan Muchow says detectors should be placed within 10 feet of any sleeping area and replaced every 5 years.

Ryan Muchow – Moorhead Fire Dept: “You want to have it somewhere where it's going to alert you somewhere in the night if need be.”

Fire officials say the best detectors are the ones with digital read outs. They have less of a chance of giving a faulty reading and are usually more accurate, but those detectors usually cost more, at about 50 dollars a piece.