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OFFICIALS URGE DETECTORS AFTER TWO OVERCOME BY FUMES

Two Grand Island children, overcome by carbon monoxide poisoning, were discovered unconscious early Saturday morning by their mother, who had just returned home from work.

Justin Hale, 3 1/2 , and his 16-month-old brother, Jared, were treated by emergency crews summoned to the home at 74 Schwegler Road shortly after their mother found them at about 12:45 a.m.

The two were taken to Children's Hospital and were discharged later in the day.

Authorities with the Grand Island Fire Company said there was a dangerously high level of carbon monoxide in the house. The buildup was blamed on a problem with the boiler for the base-board heating system, National Fuel Gas representatives determined.

Justin and Jared were home with their father, Kevin, who did not need to be hospitalized, emergency officials said.

Carbon monoxide is an odorless gas that is produced whenever any type of fuel such as gas, oil, kerosene, wood or charcoal is burned. The gas suffocates victims by robbing them of oxygen.

Patients who don't die from carbon monoxide poisoning are generally administered highly pressurized oxygen or placed in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber for treatment, officials said.

Telltale symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headache, nausea, vomiting or a loss of consciousness.

"A lot of times, people don't realize what's going on. They think they're just sick or getting the flu," said an emergency dispatcher from Grand Island. "You can't smell it, so you don't know."

Emergency officials urged all residents to install working carbon monoxide detectors in their homes to safeguard against similar occurrences. A National Fuel Gas employee said there were no carbon monoxide detectors in the Hale residence.

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