Chief: Teen sickened in accidental carbon monoxide poisoning

Posted: September 30, 2013

The Winchester Star

Winchester — A teenage boy who suffered accidental carbon monoxide poisoning was flown to Baltimore early Sunday morning for treatment.

At 7:14 a.m., rescue workers responded to the Shen-Valley Flea Market at the intersection of Front Royal Pike (U.S. 522) and Stonewall Jackson Highway (U.S. 340) in White Post to treat the victim, who had been sitting in a running car, according to Chief Bryan Conrad of the Boyce Volunteer Fire and Rescue Company.

The boy was “slightly responsive” and improving but in serious condition, Conrad said.

Helicopters were unable to land at the site, possibly because of fog, he said.

The youth was transported to Winchester Medical Center, but because it does not have a hyperbaric chamber, he was flown by helicopter to a medical facility in Baltimore.

“Carbon monoxide is attracted to the hemoglobin more strongly than oxygen,” Conrad said. “Just giving him oxygen doesn’t help. You can’t do much about it in the field.”

Conrad said the “car was situated so it was difficult for the exhaust to freely escape.”

He added that a definite diagnosis was easier because both the Boyce company and John H. Enders Volunteer Fire and Rescue Company in Berryville, which also responded, purchased LifePak 15 defibrillators about two months ago. The machine can test immediately for carbon monoxide in the blood.

“It was fairly easy to determine that he had carbon monoxide poisoning, whereas otherwise it would have been a guess based on circumstances,” Conrad said.

The Clarke County Sheriff’s Office also responded to the scene.

— Contact Laura McFarland at lmcfarland@winchesterstar.com