Detroit Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Sends Family to Hospital

The ambiguous nature of carbon monoxide poisoning resulted in not just one, but 8 hospitalized on the west side of Detroit today. One child was sick when the grandmother called the 911. After treating the child, then other family members got sick in this Detroit carbon monoxide poisoning. Then the EMT’s, who unfortunately didn’t recognize immediately the source of the illness, also got sick.

Fox 2 News Details Detroit carbon monoxide poisoning on Auburn Street.

This pattern happens in almost every case of carbon monoxide poisoning cases that the Brain Injury Group handles. Carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms can be confused with many other illnesses. Click here for the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. First one person gets sick with flu-like symptoms of nausea, vomiting and headache. Then, another person gets sick and then another. Carbon monoxide poisoning doesn’t discriminate. And if the EMT’s get sick in the short time they are at a scene, the levels almost have to be deadly.

Fortunately this Detroit carbon monoxide poisoning incident happened in the daytime and the survivors didn’t just try to sleep off the symptoms. As we say on our home page, if you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, get out of the home, then call 911. Carbon monoxide is odorless and invisible. Unlike smoke or soot, it cannot be seen or smelled. Thus, without a proper carbon monoxide alarm, only the human bodies illness response will warn those in peril.

Low CO carbon monoxide detectors will warn of carbon monoxide poisoning before it is too late.

Only carbon monoxide detectors can prevent incidents like this Detroit carbon monoxide poisoning where even EMT’s were hospitalized.

The survivors of this Detroit carbon monoxide poisoning were taken to the same hospital, Sinai Grace, that other of our carbon monoxide clients have been taken. We hope that the ER personnel do the right thing and send the whole family to hyperbaric oxygen treatment, available at Detroit Receiving Hospital. Only hyperbaric oxygen treatment can reduce the probability of long term injury, including brain damage.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment Needed Regardless of COHb Levels

Too often, the decision to as to whether to send survivors for carbon monoxide poisoning is determined based on the initial carbon monoxide level in the blood. Carbon monoxide in the blood is called carboxyhemoglobin, abbreviated COHb. While the decision to send someone to hyperbaric treatment often is made only is a COHb level is above 25%, that determination is wrong. Almost half of those with COHb levels above 10% will suffer permanent brain damage. While hyperbaric treatment doesn’t eliminate the risk of permanent brain damage, it is the only thing that can be done to prevent brain damage in the acute phase after the poisoning.

The reason the Brain Injury Law Group is focusing on carbon monoxide poisoning is that permanent brain damage is the most significant long term risk factor for those who survive carbon monoxide poisoning. For more on brain damage from carbon monoxide exposure, click here. The Brain Injury Law Group has represented more than 100 survivors of carbon monoxide poisoning, including other Detroit survivors. Our representation of the survivors of carbon monoxide poisoning has included two settlements above $10 million in the last two years. Our current cases include cases in Detroit, Chicago, Orlando, Denver and Wisconsin.

Carbon Monoxide Attorney Necessary

It is important to retain an experienced carbon monoxide law firm almost immediately in a case such as this.  In order to recover in a carbon monoxide poisoning, it is necessary to prove precisely what wrongdoer has done wrong. That requires the preservation of evidence. Not just from a landlord, but also from management companies and HVAC companies. Lawsuits should be considered against ownership of the properties where this occurred. Management companies may have been responsible for maintaining the property. Furnaces and hot water heaters are often maintained by outside companies. All of these parties must be promptly investigated by lawyers who fully understand the laws, the science and the engineering of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Click here for more about Attorney Gordon Johnson.

Five people were hospitalized in a San Antonio carbon monoxide poisoning on Sunday, March 11, 2018. The carbon monoxide poisoning occurred at an apartment complex. Apparently stemmed from a hot water heater from a broken or blocked exhaust vent. The carbon monoxide poisoning occurred at Marbach Manor apartments on the 7200 block of Marbach Road in San Antonio, Texas. A total of 30 people were reportedly evacuated. See

Warm Weather no Bar to San Antonio Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide poisoning is typically thought to be something that occurs in cold weather. But even during warm weather, CO poisoning can occur. This is especially true in apartments or hotels which use commercial sized hot water heaters. Without the proper flow of oxygen to any fuel burning appliance, carbon monoxide will form in dangerous concentrations. Further, when the proper venting of fumes  is interrupted, the flow of oxygen to the flame can create toxic conditions. Most commercial sized hot water heaters require the outflow of exhaust to keep the oxygen flowing to the flame. Carbon monoxide occurs any time there is too much natural gas to the amount of oxygen present.

As we express our best wishes for those who were hospitalized, we want to emphasize that hyperbaric oxygen therapy should be required for all those poisoned. Too often, if the carbon monoxide percentage in the blood of those poisoned is below 25%, hyperbaric oxygen will not be called for. This is a mistake. Anyone who has more than a 10% carbon monoxide level in their blood, should receive hyperbaric oxygen treatment.

All in San Antonio Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Should Get Evaluated

Our second concern for the well being of those involved in this San Antonio carbon monoxide poisoning is that all evacuated should go to the hospital and have their carbon monoxide levels taken. Not every one who needs treatment gets it. This is especially true in mass carbon monoxide poisonings. On the scene triage often miss people with significant poisonings. Sometimes there are not enough ambulances to transfer everyone needing attention. Many times, the long term consequences of carbon monoxide poisoning may be more severe than expected. While a 10% carboxyhemoglobin level may only cause a slight headache it is sufficient to cause long term problems.  Up to 40% of survivors with 10% levels can have  long term consequences.

Get to the hospital, insist on hyperbaric oxygen. We say these same things after most poisonings becausse that should be the standard of care for all carbon monoxide poisonings.

Attorney Gordon Johnson

Yesterday my news feed flashed with the story of 10 hospitalized because of a Winter Storm Quinn carbon monoxide hazard. For yesterday’s blog about the Quinn carbon monoxide poisoning in North White Plains, New York, click here. At the center of that story was an electric generator. If you have been reading this blog, it is the same story, different storm. Last fall it was Hurricane Irma that hit Puerto Rico and Florida, leaving behind victims of these same type of portable generators. The victims are not just people killed, but the thousands of those who get poisoned. Our attention was drawn recently to a series of generator related carbon monoxide poisonings that happened not with the expected portable electric generators, but installed standby units that were installed too close to occupied living zones.

Seasonal Gift May Have Prevented a Quinn Carbon Monoxide Tragedy

The positive in yesterday’s developments was a gift my firm gave to a colleague in a community near where Winter Storm Quinn Carbon Monoxide event occurred this week. Every year we get many gift baskets of fruit and other holiday items from colleagues around the country. A couple of years ago I stopped trying to find something similar to give in exchange. Instead, I started giving colleagues portable carbon monoxide alarms that were far more sensitive than the standard UL approved alarms that many people put on their ceilings of plug into walls. This year I gave the portable alarm from Forensics, which you can buy here.

Forensics sensitive detector could avoid Winter Storm Quinn carbon monoxide poisoning events.

Winter Storm Quinn carbon monoxide poisonings can be eliminated by assuring that you have a sensitive carbon monoxide alarm, such as the one shown here.

I called a colleague to ask him about the Winter Storm Quinn Carbon Monoxide tragedy in his back yard.  He told me that the alarm I had given him had gone off the day before at his paralegal’s residence. Both he and his paralegal had portable electric generators. Those generators were bought when Hurricane Sandy left them without power in 2012. Winter Storm Quinn had a similar impact on this part of New York and out came the portable electric generators. My colleague understood about not having a generator inside. What he and his staff didn’t realize is that generators outside must be at least 20 feet from buildings.

Standby Generators can be a Carbon Monoxide Hazard

After Hurricane Irma in Florida carbon monoxide poisonings occurred because standby electric generators were installed inside this 20 foot perimeter. As I said yesterday, the fault in these Quinn carbon monoxide poisonings lies with the manufacturers of these generators. In the Florida case, the fault also lies with any contractor who installed an engine closer than 20 feet from the inside of a home.

We understand how critical a return of power is after a power outage. My father spent his career designing standby generators, my brother his career servicing these machines. Yet, getting power back on is not worth a life. The industry knows what happens in an emergency. They know that not all consumers understand not to a generator inside. Further, the industry needs to do more to warn consumers as to what is a safe distance outside.

I also believe that stores and other businesses that rent these generators, should also make sure that their customers have a long enough extension cords that they will be able to leave the generator 20 feet from the house.

Attorney Gordon Johnson

I haven’t blogged about power outages and carbon monoxide poisoning in too long. It is winter here. The perceived risks comes from malfunctioning furnaces, not power outages and carbon monoxide. But I live in Wisconsin and Chicago. We get typical winter blizzards, not Atlantic Storms. I know that Atlantic storms mean carbon monoxide poisoning. Every time there is a major hurricane, there is a spike in the number of electric generator related carbon monoxide poisonings. People operate portable generators either inside their house or garage, or too close to their house and garage. For a list we made last spring on these events, click here.

Sometimes these stories don’t make it to the news media at the time of occurrence because the storm itself clogs the headlines. Sometimes, they don’t make the headlines because they only involve people getting sick, not fatalities. For everyone who dies of carbon monoxide poisoning from a portable electric generator, there are more than 50 people who are poisoned by carbon monoxide and survive See Hampson, CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING FROM PORTABLE ELECTRICAL GENERATORS:

Acute, severe CO poisoning from portable electric generators is common in the United States, likely affecting an estimated 4,000 individuals annually, occurring predominantly in residential settings.

Four thousand cases of poisoning from one simple cause: generator manufacturers who don’t care how dangerous the machines they make are because they continue to delude themselves that these machines will be used inside basements, garages or too near dwellings.

That delusion is proven wrong thousands of times a year. It was proven wrong in suburban New York City when 10 people were hospitalized when they lost power because of the winter storm that swept across the East Coast. See

There could be many more such cases that aren’t making the news or the victims don’t know they are getting poisoned. One might think that if you don’t know you are getting poisoned then, what is the big deal? By the time a person becomes clearly ill from carbon monoxide, their COHb levels are well above 10%.

COHb levels are the percentage of carbon monoxide in the blood. When carbon monoxide is in the blood, oxygen isn’t as it takes the place of oxygen. Thus, cells become starved for oxygen.

By the time a person is stuporous, as in the North White Plains, New York poisoning, blood levels are likely above 25%. Research has shown that more than 40% of those who COHb levels exceed 10% are at risk of long term problems from carbon monoxide poisoning, including brain damage. Statistically, 4 of the 10 survivors in North White Plains are likely to be disabled by this generator.

Poorly Designed Generators Cause Carbon Monoxide

It is time to stop the connection between power outages and carbon monoxide poisoning. The solution is to force the generator manufacturers to make their machines as low on carbon monoxide as automobiles. Many of these manufacturers, such as Honda, also make engines that have electronic fuel injection and catalytic converters. A modern engine can eliminate nearly all of the carbon monoxide risks. But the Consumer Products Safety Commission has been trying to mandate this change since 2002. Politics keep standing in the way of saving lives. At this point, only lawyers are going to force change. If you or your loved one has been harmed by an electric generator, it is time to do something. Talk to a lawyer about a products liability lawsuit against the manufacturer.

Generator manufacturers have the responsibility to make their products reasonably safe. These generators kill 75 people a year and hospitalize 4,000. A product that has these known risk factors is not safe. Government isn’t going to stop this. Only litigation can.

Attorney Gordon Johnson

Another horrific carbon monoxide detector story – the Perth Amboy carbon monoxide death was so easily avoidable. All that was needed was working carbon monoxide detectors. Blame the occupants? No. Blame the manufacturers of these detectors who rely on batteries that need to be replaced every six months instead of every year.

Most state laws, including New Jersey’s, require that all residences have carbon monoxide detectors. But the flaw in these regulations, which is directly attributable to neglect by the manufacturers of detectors, is that it does not require a 10-year battery in each of those detectors. For more on the New Jersey law click here.

The dead batteries tragedy seems unavoidable. But it is not. Most manufacturers are making carbon monoxide detectors that have ten year batteries. I have carried such a carbon monoxide detector with me for years. You can buy these detectors on Amazon, click here to see all the offerings.

Perth Amboy Carbon Monoxide dead batteries

The Perth Amboy Carbon Monoxide death and poisonings could have been avoided with a 10-year lithium battery carbon monoxide poisoning.

What Happened in Perth Amboy Carbon Monoxide Tragedy

According to the story on, there were at least three non-working detectors in the multi-family Perth Amboy Carbon Monoxide incident. As reported there:

“A 13-year-old girl died and at least 35 others were injured in an apparent incident of carbon monoxide poisoning in New Jersey.

It happened on Thursday evening inside a three-story residential building on Fayette Street in Perth Amboy.

The girl was rushed to the hospital, but died.

35 other victims, including 7 officers, were evaluated and treated for CO poisoning. Many of the victims were children, seen passing out and getting lightheaded.


According to the story, six of the victims of this poisoning were unconscious when they reached the hospital. While nothing is known yet about their condition, we certainly hope that all the significantly poisoned survivors are getting hyperbaric oxygen therapy. There is no question that severely carbon monoxide poisoned survivors have much better outcomes if they received hyperbaric oxygen therapy. With so many victims, it may be difficult to get all the survivors such therapy, but even those who did not lose consciousness have a much better chance of avoiding permanent brain damage if the get hyperbaric treatment.

“We immediately knew it was some kind of toxin that was taking everybody over, we knew that if we went in there we would put ourselves in danger, but that’s our jobs, that’s what we need to do to get the people out to be able to do what we need to do and attempt to save their lives,” said Cep. Chief Lawrence Cattano, Perth Amboy Police.

Part of the problem with these battery replacement carbon monoxide detectors is that is what is called for by the Underwriters Laboratory standard, UL UL2034.

Newer CO detectors are being made with lithium batteries which are far more efficient. Lithium batteries conveniently last 10 years which means less upkeep and better chance to minimize deaths caused by carbon monoxide as well as being better for the environment seeing as less batteries will be discarded and require 23 times less nonrenewable natural resources. For the safety of those living in rented properties, landlords should be mandated by UL2034 to provide tenants with carbon monoxide detectors supported by lithium batteries. The cost is minor, they can be purchased at Home Depot for around $40 or $35 for a bundle price. The average carbon monoxide detector without a lithium battery costs around $20 plus the cost of new batteries every year. Lithium battery operated CO detectors are completely feasible and a small price to pay for someone’s life.


Winter is Carbon Monoxide Season – Get Ready

Winter has always been carbon monoxide season, so much so that a 1922 book coined the term “winter headache” for what was undoubtedly carbon monoxide poisoning. Martinet, Alfred, Clinical Diagnosis, Case Examination and the Analysis of Symptoms.

Winter has long been recognized as carbon monoxide season.

From the 1922 book Clinical Diagnosis, Case Examination and the Analysis of Symptoms by Alfred Martinet: “Apparently also belonging in this category is the inveterate winter headache of city dwellers, coextensive with the cold season of the year and artificial heating of the houses, and absent throughout the warmer period and during life in the country.”

One would think since we no longer heat with coal that winter would have stopped being carbon monoxide season. (Most homes in the northern part of the United States use forced air, with gas as the most common fuel.) And while it is true that in raw numbers, the number of people who die from carbon monoxide poisoning is undoubtedly reduced in the last 100 years, there is still much that can go wrong any time you use a fossil fuel, even natural gas, for the “artificial heating of the houses.”
Sometime in this period of late fall, the furnace will have kicked on for the first time. Often times it is early in the heating system that the worst poisonings occur. As with a car that hasn’t been driven for a while, the start up may put stress on parts that have not been used in months.
A thorough seasonal checkup of the HVAC system is always recommended, even for single family homes. In a commercial establishment or a public school, it is the standard of care to have it done by a professional HVAC firm.
With the setting back of the clocks and the end of Daylight Savings Time, it is time to check the batteries in all detectors, both smoke and carbon monoxide. Even those detectors which are hardwired into the house need to have batteries changed every six months.

But it is also important to know that chronic carbon monoxide exposure can still occur during the carbon monoxide season, even if the standard carbon monoxide detectors are working properly. Those detectors are not sensitive enough to mid-level concentrations of carbon monoxide, especially if the leak is occurring day after day. UL 2034, the standard which carbon monoxide detectors are required to alarm, is designed to warn of eminent danger situations, not avoid concentrations where the COHb level may get to be as high as 10%. A level of carbon monoxide in ambient air could be 149 ppm for 3 hours and 59 minutes before the alarm went off. That is a way too much carbon monoxide and if it was happening day after day, we would predict nearly a 75% chance of disability. The analogy would be the difference between a single sport concussion and the lifetime of hits that a football player suffers, leading to CTE.
We recommend that people purchase CO alarms that register levels as low as 10 ppm, immediately.

Severe Carbon Monoxide Poisoning from Portable Electric Generators

We handle all kind of carbon monoxide poisoning cases, but amongst the the most preventable are Severe Carbon Monoxide Poisoning from portable electric generators. The reason severe carbon monoxide poisoning happens from portable electric generators is that these generators have the most deadly the exhaust. We are involved in a case where when we tested the generators, the exhaust spewed out 87,000 ppm. That number was in accordance with manufacturer’s specs. Most emergency responders have meters that only go to 2,000 ppm. (When you see a 2,000 ppm reported, it is almost always because that was as high as the meter went.)

Severe carbon monoxide poisoning from cars

The frequency that car exhaust is the cause of severe carbon monoxide poisoning has been drastically reduced since EPA emissions mandated carbon monoxide reductions.

In contrast, a car exhaust might be as low as 87 ppm, only twice what a properly functioning natural gas furnace might produce. Why one might ask is a small 5KW engine, about the size of what you might put on a lawn mower, producing CO levels hundreds of times more deadly than a car exhaust? It is because the portable electric generator manufacturers have ignored two generations of improved technology in reducing carbon monoxide emissions.

What are the consequences of these severe poisonings carbon monoxide poisonings? We did some research in medical journals and here is what we found. According to Hampson, The Journal of Emergency Medicine, Vol. 49, No. 2, pp. 125–129, 2015:

  • Acute, severe CO poisoning from portable electric generators likely affects an estimated 4000 individuals annually, occurring predominantly in residential settings.
  • Blood carboxyhemoglobin levels averaged 22.7. These are severe levels. Anything over 10% COHb levels come with more than a 40% risk of permanent brain damage.
  • 24% demonstrated evidence of cardiac ischemia.

Thus the risk factors of severe carbon monoxide poisoning from portable electric generators include not just brain damage but heart and other organ damage. When people die from severe carbon monoxide poisoning, they usually die from heart attack. The more vulnerable the person’s cardiovascular system is, the more likely they are to die from severe carbon monoxide poisoning.

If you are curious as to who makes these generators, click here. 

Church of God Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Survivors at Risk of Long Term Brain Damage

In yesterday’s blog about the Iowa church carbon monoxide poisoning, we mentioned that the 20 survivors of carbon monoxide poisoning may have a worse outcome than those who survived the shooting the church shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas on the same day. The headlines all went to the horrific event in Texas but those who survived the Church of God carbon monoxide poisoning may face worse long term prospects than those who are in surgery for gunshot wounds.

Church of God carbon monoxide poisoning

This warning label on a portable electric generator isn’t sufficient to prevent tragedies such as the Church of God carbon monoxide poisoning.

Statistically, at least 40 per cent of those who survive carbon monoxide poisoning are likely to have ongoing problems, most of which can be directly attributed to brain damage.  The Church of God carbon monoxide poisoning survivors not only have to overcome the direct effects of lack of oxygen to their brains and other vital organs, but they must also fight off the long-term effects of the poisoning.

Double Trouble for Church of God Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Survivors

Hypoxia is the technical term for what happens when the cells in the body are deprived of oxygen. Inhaling carbon monoxide deprives the body of oxygen because carbon monoxide will take the place of oxygen in the hemoglobin. Thus, when blood is circulated to the cells, carboxyhemoglobin instead of oxygen will reach the cells, potentially strangling the cells for oxygen. When the concentration of carbon monoxide in the blood reaches above 40%, the heart will often stop. This is the cause of death in most cases.

But if the heart doesn’t stop from lack of oxygen, the person exposed to carbon monoxide will likely survive. Too often it is thought that this ends the risk factors, but it does not. What is also happening in addition to the hypoxia risk, is the bodies defensive reaction to the poison. Like a bee sting can cause the body to have an over-reaction such as anaphylactic shock, the body can also over-react to this poison and cause more damage than the initial lack of oxygen.

For the 20 Church of God carbon monoxide poisoning survivors, it is not Sunday’s illness that is critical, but the illness that will linger and perhaps get stronger over the next days and weeks. The illness, often referred to as Delay Neurological Syndrome or DNS, happens to in excess of 40% of the people exposed to carbon monoxide. For more on DNS, click here. As the levels in the Marshalltown Church of God were so high, at least 8 of those exposed can be expected to have permanent brain damage.

We have been crusading to force the manufacturers of portable electric generators to reduce the emissions in these dangerous products for this entire year. I testified in front of the federal Consumer Products Safety Commission about the need to reduce the carbon monoxide emissions from portable electric generators in March. Yet, that federal regulations have stalled because of industry pressure. Only lawsuits can force change.

Portable electric generators emit hundreds of times more carbon monoxide than an equivalent car. Cars reduced carbon monoxide emissions by 99% over the last two generations, but portable electric generators have not reduced emissions. Running an electric generator in a basement of the Church of God is equivalent to running several hundred 2017 cars and pumping all that exhaust into the church.

Generator manufacturers have a duty to use modern technology to make these products safe. They refuse to do so, even though they claim to know how to do it. The death of one in the Church of God is a horrible tragedy. But we can’t only focus on that one death or even the death of 751 people over a decade. We must also focus on the 20 who survived because they may face a lifetime of disability and brain damage. Are the portable electric generators manufacturers making a calculation that they can afford the litigation over 75 deaths a year? Perhaps. But what about the 20 Church of God carbon monoxide poisoning survivors? Can they afford that litigation too?

Only lawsuits can change this calculus. Now is the time.

For more on the long term consequences for the survivors of carbon monoxide poisoning from portable electric generators, see this 2005 article. Hampson,  Am J Prev Med. 2005 Jan;28(1):123-5. Yes. That was a 2005 article. Tomorrow’s blog will discuss the 2015 updates to that research by Dr. Hampson.

Attorney Gordon Johnson


On the same day when a killer with a gun stalked a church in Texas, an equally deadly foe sent at least 15 at an Iowa church to the hospital with carbon monoxide poisoning. Sunday November 5, 2017 was the day that 26 people died in Sutherland Springs, Texas, where about 20 additional were injured. In the Iowa church carbon monoxide poisoning, at least 15 were sickened. The Iowa church carbon monoxide poisoning happened at the Church of God in at 305 E. South St., Marshalltown, Iowa, a city of about 27,000, half way between Des Moines and Waterloo, Iowa. Click here for the Iowa Church carbon monoxide poisoning story.

The weapon in Texas was a semi-automatic weapon.  In Iowa, it was a  electric generator, set up in the Church basement. Today, Washington is full of calls for greater regulation of the first weapon. Unfortunately, the call to stop the silent killer is being lost in the administrative shuffle. We have known for as long as I have been alive that electric generators kill almost every month. There were 751 electric generator deaths between 2004 and 2014 according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (the “CPSC”.) The CPSC has been trying to put a stop to these killings since 2002, but have been ignored and blocked by the generator industry ever since.

Iowa church carbon monoxide poisoning might have been stopped if this proposed regulation became law.

The Iowa church carbon monoxide poisoning is just one more case of electric generator deaths. Despite this proposed rule from the CPSC, generator carbon monoxide deaths keep happening.

I testified to the CPSC this year about the necessity of these regulations. In that testimony I argued it wasn’t just about the deaths, but the lifetime of disability that could come from these poisonings. Probabilities are that the 20 injured in the Iowa church carbon monoxide poisoning will have worse outcomes than the 20 injured in the Texas church shooting.

Iowa Church Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Preventable

These stories are connected. Both require regulation. Both involve dangerous products that should be banned. The Second Amendment protects the manufacturers of semi-automatic weapons from litigation. But there is no constitutional right to continue to manufacture deadly machines such as portable electric generators.

Iowa church carbon monoxide poisoning is another case like those Gordon Johnson testified about in front of the U.S. Consumer Products Liability Commission with respect to the dangers of portable generators. Attorney Johnson was the only personal injury attorney asked to participate in this public hearing for the new CPSC regulation on carbon monoxide emissions.

This Iowa church carbon monoxide poisoning could be the turning point against portable electric generators. It must be. The only solution is for those who survive and their family members to go after the manufacturer of that generator, the retailer who sold that generator. We know how dangerous these machines are. We know how to make them safe. It is time to fight back and put an end to this death and mayhem.

I called for this to happen last spring after a series of weeks where it seemed that each week there was another generator related death. The industry didn’t hear, because no one sued them over these deaths. I am going to start calling for this to stop again, hopefully louder. The civil justice system is the only solution to a problem that the CPSC has been unable to stop on its own.

For our earlier blogs:

Hurricane season of course has added many events since I compiled this list in June. Who knows how many may have died in Puerto Rico. Check back. I will retell this story in even stronger terms than I did months ago, over the next week. It is time for the portable generator industry to start saving lives. “What industry is demanding is a solution to eliminate deaths.” Those are not my words. Those are the words of a leading manufacturer of portable electric generators. Let the Iowa church carbon monoxide poisoning be the event that forced upon industry to “eliminate deaths.”


Attorney Gordon Johnson



Dozen Hospitalized in Mount Olive Carbon Monoxide Incident

Carbon monoxide strikes in the best neighborhoods, strikes indiscriminately to children, adults or even rescue workers. Even Good Samaritan passer byes who save the day may get poisoned is the levels are high enough. That is how a dozen people got hospitalized in the Mount Olive Carbon Monoxide poisoning on Monday, August 14, 2017. Mount Olive is in New Jersey.

High levels left a dozen hospitalized in Mount Olive Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

A dozen hospitalized after Mount Olive carbon monoxide poisoning. Levels reach 1,600 ppm. Video embedded below.

While unconfirmed, reports are that the carbon monoxide ambient air levels in the beautiful single family home in Mount Olive were as high as 1600 ppm. Even an hour in that poisoned environment could kill. That level was high enough to poison rescue workers. Reports are that at least four occupants of the home were so poisoned that they need hyperbaric oxygen therapy to help push the carbon monoxide out of their system.


According to New York CBS local:

Melanie Milo and her boyfriend Afam Nwande were walking along Finnimore Court at 7:30 p.m. Monday when they heard calls for help coming from a man who had just come home to find his entire family passed out inside. Outside the home, the man’s two young children were laying unconscious on the lawn.

“No smell, no odor, just people,” Milo said.

“He says ‘My wife’s in there, I need help carrying her.’ I ran upstairs, she’s at the top of the stairs, I picked her up brought her out and I laid her next to his kids,” Nwande said.

Two young men were found unresponsive in the basement. One was nude, possibly because he fell unconscious in the shower.

Levels as high as were in the home are often referred to as “drop where you stop” levels.

“The one gentleman was on the floor in the bathroom, he was nude, it appears he may have fallen out of the shower, the other one was asleep in a room,” Milo said.

The family sensed something was wrong, but had no idea what it was until hours later. A pool maintenance man got no response at the front door four hours before when he came to do his work. Efforts to alert the family didn’t trigger an alarm.

If there were carbon monoxide detectors inside of the home they should certainly have gone off by the time the levels got to 100 ppm. Investigations as to the cause of the Mount Olive carbon monoxide poisonings are focused on the hot water heater, which is often the culprit in warm weather poisonings.