The Clackamas County Sheriff's Office has released more details regarding the four individuals who died in recent days due to carbon monoxide poisoning in situations resulting from the snow and ice storm that struck the region over the weekend.
The sheriff's office announced it has responded to several close calls and multiple deaths linked to carbon monoxide due to power outages and residents seeking alternative sources of heat.
Three fatal calls took place between Saturday, Feb. 13 and Tuesday, Feb. 16.
The first call took place Saturday and was for a single adult who appeared to have ignited charcoal briquettes inside a small, enclosed area, leading to death by carbon monoxide poisoning. The second call took place on Sunday, Feb. 14, and involved a man who was alone with his dog inside his recreational vehicle (RV) without electricity. The propane heating source designed for use inside the RV appeared to have malfunctioned. The RV was equipped with a carbon-monoxide detector, which was sounding, alerting a neighbor. The neighbor who heard the alarm checked on the man, finding him unconscious. He was transported to an area hospital where he ultimately died from what is suspected to be carbon-monoxide poisoning. The man's dog was found deceased, as well.
On Monday, Feb 15, sheriff's deputies responded to a call of two adults who'd lost power to their home and were inside their RV using a propane heating source designed for heating the RV. The heating source appeared to not be functioning properly, resulting in the suspected carbon-monoxide poisoning and death of both adults.
All three cases are still under investigation.
According to Kimberly Dinwiddie, public information office for Clackamas County, the four individuals who perished include a man in his 50s, a man in his 40s and a male and female couple in their 80s. The county is withholding any further identifying information out of respect for the families of those who died.
The Sheriff's Office is reminding the public to never use alternate heating sources indoors that produce carbon monoxide — including generators, barbecues, camp stoves or cooktops — inside homes, trailers or other enclosed spaces.
In addition to the three fatal calls, the sheriff's office and other emergency personnel have responded to several other carbon monoxide "close calls" requiring medical care. Clackamas County (C-COM) emergency dispatchers received at least 18 separate calls regarding carbon-monoxide poisoning between Friday, Feb. 12 and Tuesday, Feb. 16, including one mutual-aid request to Marion County.
Those calls include one on Saturday, Feb. 13, when a family of six had brought a charcoal barbecue inside their home to use as a heat source. Emergency crews responded and treated two family members on scene for carbon-monoxide poisoning, and transported the other four family members to the hospital for treatment.
On Tuesday, Feb 16, six adults in a Gladstone home were using a gas generator for power. The generator was located inside a shed attached to the home. One resident woke up in the morning smelling fumes. Emergency crews were summoned. Four adults were able to make it out of the residence — some with assistance from responding officers. When firefighters arrived, they donned their equipment and entered the house — pulling two additional adults out of the home who were unconscious. Emergency crews began CPR and transported four to the hospital. The other two adults were treated on scene and declined transportation to the hospital.
Resources for Clackamas County residents:
'Storm Resources' webpage:
List of Clackamas County warming centers:
Clackamas County winter-storm emergency declaration:
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