Carbon monoxide was measured in the house at a potentially deadly level.
BOARDMAN -- A grandmother, mom and two children survived carbon monoxide that so densely permeated the air of their house that it was 55 times the level considered safe.
"They are very lucky no one died," Tim Drummond, Boardman Township assistant fire chief, said of the emergency at 11:30 a.m. Thursday at 7385 Sierra Madre Trail.
Doctors at St. Elizabeth Health Center treated Pattison Tabor, 52, Rachel Tabor, 20, her daughter Mariah, 2, and godson Patrick, 4, and released them around 5:30 p.m.
'Listless' babyAll of the victims were conscious when two companies of firefighters arrived at the house, said Lt. James A. McCreary of the township Bureau of Fire Prevention and Education. Ambulances took them to the hospital.
Rachel Tabor was having difficulty breathing when she awoke Thursday morning, he said. Pattison Tabor complained of having a headache for four days, he added. Both children were sick for a week, and the 2-year-old was "behaving listlessly." The youngest child was limp when her mom picked her up Thursday, they said.
Firefighters measured the level of the odorless, colorless gas at 500 parts per million in the small single-story house in a modest neighborhood south of Boardman Plaza near U.S. Route 224.
Oxygen and observation
"Anything over 9 ppm is unsafe. We'd call the gas company," Drummond said.
A Dominion East Ohio Gas crew red tagged the boiler for the heating system and the hot water heater, McCreary said, and owner Philip A. Davis of Berlin Center had scheduled a repairman at the property for 7 a.m. today to work on the equipment.
The four victims are staying with family, McCreary said.
Typically, he said, doctors treat carbon monoxide poisoning with oxygen therapy and keep them under observation until blood gas tests show a safe level of the poison. The Tabors had elevated levels of the harmful gas, he added.
When firefighters arrived at the house, they found the rooms shrouded in a black haze. McCreary said he couldn't pinpoint the source of the carbon monoxide. Often a cracked heat exchanger in a boiler or a blocked chimney backs gases and soot into a dwelling.
Each of the ill individuals had black soot below their noses, McCreary said.
Firefighters found at least two of four typical indicators of carbon monoxide in the house: a stuffy, stale odor and condensed water on the windows.
Other danger signs include a furnace that runs constantly but doesn't heat well and appliances that shut off because safety devices trigger.
As soon as they escorted the residents from the Sierra Madre home, some of the six firefighters at the scene shut the gas valve to the building, went in with air tanks, opened windows and doors and blew the gas out of the house with large fans.
McCreary said a $30 to $50 battery powered carbon monoxide alarm can detect the gas before it reaches dangerous levels and recommended that families install them near sleeping areas.
He said the Boardman Township Fire Prevention Bureau distributes pamphlets on carbon monoxide prevention, and the number to call to acquire one is (330) 729-9535.