Bozeman fire department warns of carbon monoxide danger after recent death

Posted at 11:15 AM, Jan 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-01 13:15:08-05

BOZEMAN — The Bozeman Fire Department has been getting a lot of calls lately about the dangers of carbon monoxide after a Bozeman woman died and another was sent to the hospital as a result of a carbon monoxide poisoning over the weekend.

Bozeman firefighters call carbon monoxide a “silent killer” for a reason.

In this case, the odorless gas came from a car exhaust inside a garage.

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Fire chief Josh Waldo said the list of possible sources is longer and includes things we use everyday to heat our homes.

“Carbon monoxide alarms are one of the most important things you can have in your house," Waldo said.

It’s an alarm that no one wants to hear, yet it’s the watchdog for an invisible threat.

“Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas," Waldo said. "You cannot detect it as a human. You gotta have some kind of device, the alarm in your home, to detect that for you.”

Since what happened at a home on 11th and Babcock in Bozeman, Waldo said they’ve received more calls, and more questions, from the community asking about CO danger and questions about CO detectors .

Waldo said the nature of the gas makes it hard to know when it’s actually there.

“For us, a carbon monoxide call comes out the same as a gas odor, comes out the same as a strange odor," Waldo said.

Waldo added that carbon monoxide can impact almost anyone, almost anywhere.

He said the prevention of something as unpredictable and dangerous as carbon monoxide can be simple, yet, at the same time, it’s unpredictable so it should be done as soon as you can.

“If they’re not venting properly, that creates a situation where you can have carbon monoxide build up in your home," Waldo said.

He added that a clogged chimney or not-maintained fireplace, anything with a leaking pilot light, could lead to the gas.

“That’s why it’s important to have your appliances serviced on an annual basis by a professional," he said. "If you haven’t had your chimney swept out this year, it’s not too late. You need to get that done.”

That includes getting a carbon monoxide detector, a warning that could save your life.

“It just really depends on the amount of carbon monoxide you have build up. It depends on the person," Waldo said. "There’s a lot of variable factors in there that are going to make each situation a little different.”

The fire chief said it is important to read the manufacturer’s label when setting up your detector, each is different, meaning you could be installing it on your ceiling or near a floor.

As for the second woman involved in Sunday’s incident, he said her condition is still unknown.

Investigators said she is still recovering.