Here’s a mystery: A carbon monoxide scare that didn’t turn up any carbon monoxide.

Earlier this week 31 students and faculty members at a school in Derry, N.H., became ill and were evacuated, then treated for carbon monoxide poisoning. But as it turns out, investigators didn’t find any of the dangerous gas in the building.

On Wednesday St. Thomas Aquinas School was evacuated, but the next day students were back in class.

When the local fire department tested the school for carbon monoxide Wednesday, the results were negative. But to be safe, St. Thomas Aquinas has installed nine carbon monoxide detectors in the school, including one in the third-floor classroom where the first students said they felt ill.

Firefighters did another carbon monoxide test before students returned to the school Thursday morning.

Emergency crews administered care to 31 students and teachers Wednesday, for what appeared to be symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.

For more information on carbon monoxide exposure, go to

A toddler’s birthday party in New Mexico almost turned lethal, as 25 people got carbon monoxide poisoning, with a dozen of them nearly dying, according to an online story by KREZ.

The owner of the home where the party took place Saturday, Carlos Quintana, said he was using a propane heater to keep his garage warm during the party for a little girl in Farmington, N.M. The garage doors were closed.

Suddenly, two children were overcome by the carbon monoxide fumes and fell down sick. They were rushed to the hospital. But more people began to get ill.

Quintana turned the heater off, and opened the garage door to let the fumes escape. But the party-goers had already breathed in noxious levels of the carbon monoxide.

Some of them were sent to the San Juan Regional Medical Center in Farmington, while 12 had to be flown to hospitals in Denver, Albuquerque and Santa Fe, according to KREZ.

Nine went to a hyperbaric medical center, a facility that specializes in treating carbon-monoxide poisoning, in Santa Fe.

The girl’s birthday party was rescheduled for Monday. For a better understanding the full consequences of carbon monoxide exposure go to

More than 250 students were evacuated and two restaurants were temporarily closed when high levels of carbon monoxide set of alarms at a Center Center building in Philadelphia early Monday morning, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The 17-story building, located at the corner of Broad and Chestnut Streets, houses a Capital Grille and an Olive Garden. Officials shut those eateries down when they measured carbon monoxide levels of as high as 3,800 parts per million in one of them, the Inquirer reported.

The historic building, 1346 Chestnut St., is also the residence for 552 students at the Art Institute of Philadelphia. They were sent to nearby hotels at the institute’s expense.

At concentrations of more than 150 to 200 parts per million, carbon monoxide causes disorientation, unconsciousness and even death, the Inquirer said, citing information from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Authorities Monday hadn’t determine the source of the carbon monoxide.

For a better understanding the full consequences of carbon monoxide exposure go to

Wisconsin hotels and apartment managers are scrambling to comply with a new state law that requires them to install carbon monoxide detectors.

The law goes into effect in several months, but hoteliers and others are still trying to interpret it and figure out how many detectors they need to install in order to be in compliance, according to a story posted online,, by WBAY-TV In Green Bay, Wis., Friday.

The law applies to apartment buildings, hotels and bed and breakfasts. Under the legislation, carbon monoxide detectors must be installed within 15 feet of a bedroom if there is a fuel-burning device, like a fireplace, in the building.

But hoteliers are unclear on that part of the law, and whether it mandates that detectors also have to be placed within 15 feet of the actual appliance.

According to the WBAY story, the Green Bay Fire Department will do the inspections to be sure hoteliers and apartment owners are in compliance with the new law.

Local fire officials pointed out that carbon monoxide poisoning is the No. 1 cause of accidental poisoning in the world, and that about 170 people die each year in the United States from carbon monoxide poisoning.

As we enter Hurricane Season 2009 and the emphasis shifts to disaster planning, including warnings about the dangers of generators, who would of thought we would be placing a warning on video gaming?

The dangers of using generators without proper ventilation is covered extensively throughout the hurricane season as massive power failures become more likely. Generators used without proper ventilation can kill in a matter of minutes. All generators produced after May 14, 2007 are required to carry just such a warning.

During Hurricane Ike, two million people were left without power resulting in 12 separate carbon monoxide poisoning incidents. We would logically assume that generators were powered up to provide emergency lighting, refrigeration and other necessities.

However, according to an article in the June issue of Pediatrics by Caroline Fife, M.D., of the University of Texas Science Center in Houston and her colleagues, five of these incidents were the result of powering up generators in order to play video games. 21 children and 17 adults were poisoned, and one 3-year-old died.

“This is the first study to suggest that generators are commonly used immediately after a large-scale power outage to power entertainment electronics for children,” they said.

It is recommended that generators be placed at least 50 feet from a house and should not be operated in the house or garage in any circumstances. This is a good time to weatherize your generator so it can be operated safely outdoors, install a catalytic converter and carbon monoxide monitors. If you are concerned about theft or noise, the CPSC is considering these problems and hopefully solutions will soon be in the works.

Please use common sense when operating a generator and put the safety and health of children first. The video games can wait.