An autopsy has determined that a University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire student died of carbon monoxide poisoning following a fire his apartment in that Wisconsin city, according to the Pioneer Press.

Ross Livermore, 21, of Stillwater Township, was one of two students who were killed as the result of a fire last Monday morning in their apartment. That blaze is under investigation.

Another Stillwater-area youth, 21-year-old Jacob Clarkson, sustained critical burns in the fire and succumbed to them last Tuesday at Hennepen County Medical Center, which is in Minneapolis, according to the Pioneer Press.

Livermore and Clarkson and their two other roommates, Garret Isakson and Casey Malan, also both 21, all graduated from Stillwater Area High School, the Pioneer Press reported.

Isakson and Malan escaped from the four-bedroom apartment the four youths all shared, and were treated at the Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire and released, according the the newspaper.

An autopsy has determined that a Eau Claire, Wis., woman found in her home after a fire died of carbon monoxide poisoning, according to the Leader-Telegram.

Cheryl Lechner, 47, was discovered in the basement of her house at East Hamilton Avenue when firefighters responded to the scene about 1:30 p.m. Monday. She couldn’t be resuscitated , the Leader-Telegram reported.

Authorities are still investigating Lechner’s death, with members of the local police department, the Wisconsin Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms at the scene, according to the Leader-Telegram.

Apparently, police have ruled out a faulty furnace or water heater as the source of the lethal carbon monoxide.

A bird’s nest was almost lethal in a town in Wisconsin late last Thursday night.

Eight people in Dodgeville, Wis., were taken to a hospital after suffering carbon monoxide poisoning, according to the Associated Press.

Police were called to the scene after someone was reportedly suffering a seizure, AP said. Authorities discovered that residents of the home, including five children, were showing symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Eight people were transported to Upland Hills Hospital, included the police officer who first arrived at the home, according to AP.

And here’s the kicker: A bird’s nest apparently was blocking an outside air intake, causing carbon monoxide levelt to rise in the house.



A man who was permanently disabled after suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning while in a recreational vehicle in Wisconsin has accepted a $2 million settlement, according to The Daily Telegram of Adrian, Mich.

The plaintiff, 60-year-old Larry Brenke of Riga, Mich., will be getting payments from four defendants in the case, which stems from a June 2009 incident. Brenke was rendered unconscious by the potentially lethal gas while in the RV during a trip to Wisconsin, The Daily Telegram reported.

Under the settlement, RV owner Allen Smith and Al Smith Concrete Construction of Blissfield agreed to pay Brenke $1 million, according to The Daily Telegram. Cobra Truck & Fabrication of Ottawa Lake, which built the RV, will also shell out $1 million.

In addition to them, the companies that did the inspection on the RV and put a carbon monoxide detector in it will pay $75,000 in settlement money, The Daily Telegram reported.

In the carbon monoxide incident, Brenke and another man went with Smith to a tractor-pulling contest in Tomah, Wis. But the trip went awry. The morning after the three men arrived in Wisconsin, Smith and Brenke were discovered unconscious in the RV, according to The Daily Telegram.

Brenke didn’t recover from the injury he suffered due to the carbon monoxide, and his wife Jane was named his guardian.

In April Brenke’s lawsuit went through a case evaluation, and a $2 million settlement was suggested, The Daily Telegram reported.

On top of the two $1 million awards, Walter Kidde Portable Equipment of North Carolina paid $50,000. It had distributed a carbon monoxide detector, made in China, that failed to go off in Smith’s RV. And T.R. Arnold & Associates, the Indiana company that inspected the RV, paid $25,000 in settlement money, according to The Daily Telegram.

The newspaper also reported that Cobra Truck & Fabrication made the RV using a trailer chassis, and then put a “gasoline-fueled electric generator under the living quarters without proper exhaust ventilation.”

Smith had put holes in the RV’s floor to install gear, and that’s how the carbon monoxide got into the RV.

A Chippewa Falls, Wis., woman died following a trailer home fire last week was killed by carbon monoxide poisoning, according to a report released Wednesday by the local fire department.

The victim was Kathleen Lindsey, who apparently was overcome by carbon monoxide while trying to escape her burning trailer home at 3 a.m. last Friday, according to the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram.

Lindsey was discovered unconscious at her trailer home in Indianhead Trailer Court, located in south Chippewa Falls. She was taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Chippewa Falls, and was pronounced dead there, the Leader-Telegram reported.

Unfortunately, there weren’t any smoke alarms in Lindsey’s trailer.

According to the fire department report, the fire started in the living room, possibly caused by a cigarette, while Lindsey was asleep in a bedroom, the Leader-Telegram reported.

The fire likely used up all the oxygen in the trailer before the smoke and heat got to the bedroom and woke up Lindsey, the fire department said. She woke up and left her bedroom, but apparently didn’t make it any farther than a hallway inside the trailer’s rear entry door.

An autopsy found that the carbon monoxide level in Lindsey’s blood was 77.9 percent, according to the Leader-Telegram. Levels higher than 30 percent are lethal. Authorities believe that the woman was rendered unconscious by the high level of carbon monoxide in her trailer, and never made it out the read door.

A leak  from a forklift Thursday led to 13 employees at Chippewa Bi Products in Wisconsin being sent to the hospital for carbon monoxide poisoning, according to WQOW-TV. The incident took place at the rendering facility near Alma Center.

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office issued a press release that said it got a call asking that EMTs be dispatched to Chippewa Bi Products at 9:50 a.m. Thursday. The person who called said that at least one person had passed out, and no one knew why.

 Alma Center firefighters, and EMTs from Alma Center and Black River Falls, came to the scene. They determined that several employees have been overcome by carbon monoxide.

The sheriff’s office said that 10 people had to be taken to Black River Memorial Hospital,  but WQOW reported that 13 were transported there. According to the TV station, four victims were later transported to other hospitals for treatment, and nine were treated and released. 

Propane forklifts were  being used in the Chippewa Bi Products building where the employees got ill, and authorities believe one of the forklifts had a mechanical problem and released the toxic carbon monoxide fumes.

In turn, Chippewa Bi Products said that it has carbon monoxide detectors, and that one did go off Thursday.

The plant did reopen after the incident Thursday, with the company saying it had retified the problem with the forklift.


The Hilton Garden Inn in Green Bay is apparently still keeping mum about a carbon monoxide leak a week ago that lead to about 16 people going to the hospital. At least, that what the Green Bay Press-Gazette reported Friday.

The newspaper did a follow-up story that published information from the Green Bay Fire Department’s report on the carbon monoxide incident at 1015 Lombardi Ave. Apparently, there was no mention in the report of whether the hotel had carbon monoxide detectors, as required by Wisconsin state law.

According to the records, EMTs got to the Hilton Garden Inn at 9 p.m. on Dec. 30. They found four people, including several children, who had the classic symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning: headaches, nausea and vomiting.

Then more hotel guests came forward and complained of having similar symptoms, the Press-Gazette reported. Firefighters said that two sick people were transported to a hospital by ambulance, a 17-year-old woman and a 25-year-old woman. In addition, roughly 14 others went to the hospital in private vehicles.

The fire report on the incident said that high levels of carbon monoxide were found in a swimmng pool area, a workout room, a mechanical room, a stairway and several restrooms, according to the Press-Gazette.

The newspaper stated that fire officials found carbon monoxide levels up to 800 parts per million near the pool and 957 parts per million in an equipment room. Those readings soar above the carbon monoxide level that sometimes prompts the evacuation of buildings: 9 parts per million.

Firefighters pulled the plug on any potential sources of carbon monoxide, ventilated the hotel and had hotel employees check on other occupants at the 123-room facility.  The fire crew left the scene about 11:30 p.m.

If the Green Bay Fire Department report said anything about carbon monoxide detectors, then the Press-Gazette didn’t mention it. And we doubt that. 

Hilton Garden Inn general manager Michelle Lang declined to comment to the Press-Gazette. Maybe that answers the question about the carbon monoxide detectors. 

In the second unfortunate case of this type I’ve seen recently, four guests — including two children — at the Hilton Garden Inn  in Green Bay were hospitalized for apparent carbon monoxide poisoning Friday, according to the Green Bay Press Gazette.

The incident happened at the hotel near Lambeau Field at 1015 Lombardi Ave. And this isn’t the first near-tragedy of its kind in Green Bay: I am currently handling a lawsuit that involves carbon monoxide poisoning of patrons at a Days Inn located in that city.  

In the case at the Hilton Garden Inn,  the two children who became sick were in the vicinity of the hotel’s swimming pool, according to the Press Gazette. Those poor kids were taken to the hospital by ambulance, while the  two adults who became ill from their exposure to carbon monoxide were transported by private cars.

Green Bay fire officials are blaming a heating system malfunction for the carbon monoxide leak. There were high levels of carbon monoxide not only in the room where the heating system was located, but in the pool area, as well.

Officials at the Hilton Garden Inn couldn’t be reached for comment by the Press Gazette. And maybe there’s a reason for that. The reporter would have asked them the same question that authorities, and I, would have asked: Does your hotel have carbon monoxide detectors? And if it does, why weren’t there any near the pool?

There are 25 states that require installation of carbon monoxide detectors in various kinds of residential and public buildings, including Wisconsin. And Wisconsin requires them in hotels.

Here is what the Wisconsin law mandates:

“Requires installation of carbon monoxide detectors in certain areas of residential buildings (defined as a tourist rooming hosue, a bed and breakfast, or any public building that is used for sleeping or lodging purposes).  Sets forth installation requirements, obligations and liabilities for owners of such residential buildings.”

If the Hilton Garden Inn had carbon monoxide detectors, why did four people get sick Friday night? And if the hotel had them, why were there none by the pool? Or did it have them, but they weren’t functioning properly?

And if the hotel didn’t have them, it would appear to be in violation of state law.

Either way, something went terribly wrong.



Earlier this week the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced the voluntary recall of 13,000 tankless waters heaters. These heaters pose a threat of leaking carbon monoxide, a lethal colorless, odorless gas.

But we have to wonder, how many people are aware of this recall? And how many people could be victims of  carbon monoxide poisoning from these Korean-made heaters, which were distributed by Navien America Inc. of Irvine, Calif.

The Navien water heaters pose a hazard because “an unstable connection can cause the water heater’s vent collar to separate or detach if pressure is applied,” according to the CPCS’s press release.  “A detached vent collar poses a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning to the consumer,” the CPCS said.

Although there have been no reports in injuries yet, these heaters pose a serious danger. 

Today we Googled “Navien heater recall” to see how much press coverage the recall got. Although almost 200 stories came up in that search. That may sound like a lot, but most of them buried the heater recall as part of roundups of many other product recalls.

It’s too bad the CPCS doesn’t have a more comprehensive method of distributing news about its recalls, especially one involving such a potentially dangerous product, the Navien heaters. 

Let’s hope word does spread and these 13,000 heaters are found and returned.