Carbon monoxide exposure sends 10 to hospital, including 4 children

Ten individuals were taken to hospital Saturday morning after being exposed to elevated levels of carbon monoxide, according to an EMS spokesperson.

Emergency services initially responded at approximately 7:15 a.m. to calls of one patient with a specific medical complaint near the 400 block of 18th Avenue N.E.

However, upon arriving, it became clear that nine occupants were suffering from carbon monoxide exposure. The nine individuals ranged in age from one year old up to 46 years old and were all transported to hospital. One more individual, who had left the home and then returned, was also transported to hospital.

"We quickly determined there was a larger incident at hand," said Stuart Brideaux with EMS. "It was identified quickly that for some reason there was very substantially elevated levels of carbon monoxide in the house."

Frequently dubbed the "silent killer" due to it being colourless, tasteless and odourless, carbon monoxide can cause those exposed to lose consciousness, sometimes within minutes.

"If the source of a leak is causing a potentially high or immediate spike in parts per million of carbon dioxide, it can just be minutes," Brideaux said. "If it's a lower leak or more insidious leak, it can take hours. It's not exactly known when [this leak] may have begun to occur."

Calgary fire services requested ATCO Gas attend the scene, and it was soon determined that the furnace is where the leak originated.

It was also determined that no smoke or carbon monoxide detectors were present in the home. 

"We're highly against that, given the age of [the] older home. But regardless of the circumstances, it's always, always advised to have working and tested smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors on each floor, and generally outside the bedroom hallways," Brideaux said.

Though they were stable at the time of transport, EMS could immediately not provide an update on the condition of those involved.