Firefighters say six members of a Connecticut family were rushed to a hospital after they were overcome by high levels of carbon monoxide from a portable generator. A hospital spokeswoman says all the victims are in satisfactory condition.
Fairfield authorities responded to a home on Beaconview Drive at about 1:30 a.m. Monday and found two men, one woman and two children ages 9 and 13 on the front lawn. Firefighters removed a second woman from inside the home. All six relatives were taken to Norwalk Hospital, which has a hyperbolic chamber for carbon monoxide victims.
Officials haven't identified the victims.
Fire officials say there was no power at the two-family home because of Tropical Storm Irene and the family was using a portable gasoline-fueled generator that was in the basement.
Authorities have been worried about an increase in carbon monoxide poisonings as millions deal with power outages across the East Coast as a result of Irene.
Each year, about 180 deaths in the U.S. are linked to carbon monoxide from appliances and small engines, like those in portable generators, running in enclosed spaces, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates several thousand more are treated for carbon monoxide fumes at emergency rooms.
In Connecticut, power companies warned it could take up to a week to get the lights back on for thousands left in the dark, according to NBC Connecticut.
At one point, 672,000 Connecticut Light & Power customers were without power Sunday, the NBC affiliate reported. As of Monday morning, electricity was still out for almost 590,000 customers.
United Illuminating had more than 115,000 customers in the dark as well. That number was down to 110,000 on Monday morning. The site was down as of 10:45 a.m.
"We could be rebuilding whole sections of the electrical infrastructure," CL&P spokesperson Mitch Gross told NBC Connecticut as the storm was moving through.