Serious harm or even death can result from carbon monoxide poisoning. To make sure this does not happen, have your chimney and fireplace serviced. Getting your boiler flue cleaned annually can help avoid accidents related to carbon monoxide. Also, periodically check to see if your carbon monoxide detector is working, as it only takes a few seconds. It can help save lives and avoid tragic stories, like this one from New Jersey where a 13-year-old girl died from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Initially, authorities believed the accident was due to a space heater that the family was using, but after an investigation of the incident another conclusion was determined. The City Administration wrote is a statement that "a clay liner within the chimney at the multi-family dwelling collapsed. This obstructed the flow of carbon monoxide exhaust from building, and caused high levels of carbon monoxide to be released into the apartment."
In fact, the carbon monoxide levels were so high that the 27 police officers who came to the building to help had to be treated for exposure to carbon monoxide. Three people from the apartment building remain in critical condition.
Sadly, this sort of tragic incident could have been avoided it the building underwent routine chimney sweeps and inspections. The collapsing liner could have been spotted and rebuilt before any issue with the carbon monoxide surfaced. And to make matters worse, the carbon monoxide detector was not operating properly at the time of the incident. The owner of the building believes the residents had removed the batteries, but periodically checking the instrument could have avoided this instance entirely.
"For a $50 detector, a life could have been saved," one officer said. Don't be careless with the carbon monoxide detector at your home and remember to periodically check it.