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Five people suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning, traced to a faulty furnace in the basement of an Amherst home, were taken to a hospital Wednesday night, emergency services personnel and Amherst police said.

Krishna Murthy, 47, of 233 Bramble Court called 911 after his daughter and her friend collapsed from symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, authorities said. The Amherst Fire Control dispatcher told him to open doors and windows immediately to let in fresh air.

The girls -- Murthy's daughter Radhana and Aditi Kantipuly, both 13 -- had revived somewhat by the time East Amherst firefighters arrived. The two girls, Murthy, his wife, Sudha, 37, and another daughter, Leena, 14, were taken to Millard Fillmore Hospital on Gates Circle, which has a hyperbaric chamber to treat carbon monoxide poisoning.

Michael P. Hughes, public affairs manager for Rural/Metro Medical Services, described their conditions as not life-threatening.

Carbon monoxide, a byproduct of combustion, is colorless and odorless. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, average carbon monoxide levels in homes range from 0.5 to 15 parts per million.

Firefighters reported initial readings of 40 to 80 ppm, which soared into the hundreds in the basement.

Amherst Fire Control said the furnace had a faulty heat exchanger, and the home did not have a carbon monoxide detector.


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