Four workers overcome by carbon monoxide in KC home, OSHA opens investigation

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Firefighters and paramedics responded Monday to a home in the 7500 block of Olive Street, where four people working in the basement needed medical care after exposure to carbon monoxide.

The mother of the woman who lives in the home, Nadine, said she had hired Pride Renovations and Construction of Blue Springs to fix a water leak in her basement. The workers were there for about 30 minutes when those workers came upstairs and tumbled into her kitchen. At first, Nadine thought they just needed to cool down. After all, they have been working under a heat advisory.

“He kicked off his shoes and hear came another one. That’s when all of them came up,” she said.

But she knew something was wrong when the three men had to pull one more from the basement.

“They were pretty hot, and said he was numb and stuff like that and had my grandson call 911,” said Nadine. "First I thought it was just heat."

She says she was able to get a cold towel and some ice for them while they waited.

James Garrett, Kansas City Fire Department spokesperson, said the men used power tools that were gas operated without proper ventilation.

“The carbon monoxide levels rose in this house to about 600 when our crews arrived,” he said.

After the men were sent to the hospital, there was another scare for Nadine. Her daughter fell from heat exhaustion.

Her daughter was quickly looked at and didn’t have to go to the hospital. Garrett says of the four men in the hospital, two men were seriously affected from carbon monoxide poisoning.  The others are in stable condition.

“OSHA has opened an investigation and will determine if any safety or health violations may have contributed to the illness experienced by workers,” said Barb Theroit, OSHA’s area director in Kansas City.  “Gas-powered tools are one of the leading causes of carbon monoxide exposure in the workplace and employers must take precautions to ensure proper ventilation and limit worker’s exposure.”

Click here for more information about carbon monoxide.