5 people treated after Christmas carbon monoxide exposure at Anchorage home

The Anchorage Fire Department in downtown Anchorage. (Joey Mendolia/Alaska Public Media)

Anchorage firefighters say five people at a Russian Jack home spent Christmas night in the hospital, after exposure to the potentially deadly gas carbon monoxide.

Anchorage Fire Department spokeswoman Lexi Trainer said the call was reported on the 100 block of McCarrey Street at about 5:30 p.m. Monday. The residents were trying to warm the home, she said, but investigators haven’t yet identified the heat source that produced the carbon monoxide.

Further updates on the victims’ conditions weren’t immediately available Thursday afternoon, she said.

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas found in engine exhausts that can build up in confined spaces, causing symptoms ranging from nausea to death with sustained exposure. It is believed to have killed a Wasilla man using a gas generator and a propane heater in an unventilated attic in February, as well as two of three people found dead aboard a boat anchored off Juneau’s Sandy Beach this summer.

In a Facebook post Thursday, firefighters said the incident was a reminder to check smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, given their vital role in alerting people to danger.

“These alarms are your first line of defense, providing an early warning against fire and carbon monoxide,” firefighters wrote. “We encourage you to take the time to prioritize the safety of yourself and your loved ones by making sure these alarms are working properly.”

Chris Klint is a web producer and breaking news reporter at Alaska Public Media. Reach him at cklint@alaskapublic.org. Read more about Chris here.

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