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“We averted a horrific tragedy” in Donnelly carbon monoxide poisoning case

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Posted at 10:39 AM, Jan 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-27 20:21:44-05

DONNELLY, Idaho — Twenty-five people staying in a vacation rental home in Donnelly were treated Monday morning at the St. Luke's McCall Medical Center for carbon monoxide poisoning.

Crews from the Donnelly Fire Department responded to a 9-1-1 call about 6:30 a.m. Monday at a home on Dawn Drive, southwest of Donnelly.

Those staying at the house (ten adults and fifteen children) were complaining of “headaches and nausea, consistent with carbon monoxide exposure,” said Donnelly Fire Chief Juan Bonilla.

Two adults and two children were initially taken by ambulance to the St. Luke's McCall Medical Center. When authorities discovered they were likely dealing with carbon monoxide exposure, fire crews tested for carbon monoxide in the house and found “ratings above normal,” Bonilla said.

The remainder of those in the home at the time were taken to the hospital in private vehicles.

Twenty-one have since been treated and released.

The remaining four were transferred to other Treasure Valley hospitals for “specialized hyperbaric chamber care, providing high-flow oxygen to essentially help clean the carbon monoxide from their systems,” explained St. Luke’s Hospital spokeswoman Laura Crawford.

Given patient confidentiality, the names and ages of those treated were not released.

“We averted a horrific tragedy,” she added. “Once we learned we were dealing with possible multiple carbon monoxide poisonings, we immediately activated our mass-causality incident command. And when the crews at the scene confirmed it was carbon monoxide poisoning, the others got to the hospital as soon as possible for treatment.” Crawford could not recall the last time the mass-casualty incident command had been activated.

Fire crews cleared from the scene about 7:30 a.m.