Family recovering from carbon monoxide poisoning in Abbotsford incident

Sgt. Judy Bird

ON December 26 at 8:23 p.m., Abbotsford Emergency Services attended the 33700-block of Clayburn Road in response to a report of a motorist and passengers in medical distress.

Upon arrival, a mother and her two children, aged 3 and 5, were located unresponsive in a Toyota Corolla. All three were transported to hospital in critical condition.

Initially this appeared to be a single vehicle collision. Abbotsford Police detectives have determined that the vehicle came to rest against a guard rail after the driver pulled over to the side the road. All three occupants were overcome by carbon monoxide poisoning prior to being discovered by two citizens passing by.

Assistant Fire Chief Craig Bird of the Abbotsford Fire Rescue Service notes: “Carbon monoxide, or ‘CO’, is an odorless, colorless gas found in fumes produced by burning fuel. CO poisoning symptoms are often described as “flu-like”, and include headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion. Prolonged exposure can lead to death.

“Vehicular CO poisoning is most frequently caused by a vehicle being left running in an enclosed area. In these circumstances, CO can build rapidly to toxic levels. Never leave a motorized vehicle running in a garage or other confined space. Less common, but equally dangerous, is CO poisoning caused by exhaust fumes leaking into the passenger compartment of a vehicle. If you suspect your vehicle has an exhaust leak, please take it to a certified mechanic for inspection and repair.”

Fortunately, the prognosis for all victims is positive. On Thursday, the mother and her five-year-old child were released from hospital. The three-year-old remains in hospital in stable condition, and is expected to be released early next week, according to Sgt. Judy Bird.