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Updated: Tue, 24 Dec 2013 10:29:16 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

Carbon monoxide poisoning in ice storm blackout leaves 2 dead



Three residents are given oxygen after a charcoal BBQ was used in a high rise on Kingston Road in Toronto. Tony Smyth/CBC

Three residents are given oxygen after a charcoal BBQ was used in a high rise on Kingston Road in Toronto. Tony Smyth/CBC

Two people in Ontario are dead after carbon monoxide from a gas generator entered their blacked-out home following the weekend’s ice storm, which continues to leave thousands in the dark.

Emergency services were called to the home in Newcastle around 3:20 p.m. ET Monday after several people reported feeling ill, according to Durham Regional Police.

A 52-year-old man and his 72-year-old mother were rushed to Lakeridge Health in Bowmanville, but died. Their names have not been released.

Police say a gas-powered generator was running in the garage in order to give electricity to heat the home. Though the garage did not have access to the house, the CO fumes managed to seep in.

There have been multiple reported health emergencies since the ice storm as people — many of whom have had no power for more than 48 hours — struggle to stay warm.

Mayor Rob Ford updated the public Tuesday at a news conference, saying that call volumes to Toronto Fire and EMS have risen dramatically. 

"Call volumes [are] at approximately four times their regular call volume," Ford said, specifically emphasizing the amount of emergencies related to carbon monoxide fumes. 

"There were 110 carbon monoxide calls, typically there are 20."

CO emergencies overnight

Four residents, including a two-year-old child, were transported to hospital from their home on Danforth Road after using a charcoal barbecue for heating and cooking.

At around 8:18 p.m. ET, two people from a home near Vaughan Road were hospitalized after they also burned charcoal in a barbecue indoors in an attempt to keep warm.

Similarly, at around 11:14 p.m ET., five people in Scarborough were taken to hospital after burning charcoal and another man and woman were also assisted by EMS at around 2:40 a.m. for the same thing.

“Basically the warning is simple, do not burn charcoal or propane in enclosed space,” Deputy Commander David Vijakainen said. “Call EMS for assistance or for advice on how to get transport to warming centres."

Fire in Scarborough

Toronto Fire has also reported many chimney fires and calls regarding carbon monoxide fumes and is warning the public about many live wires that remain down.

Flames ripped through the roof of a home on Red Deer Avenue in Scarborough overnight. The area was blacked out and no one was home at the time. The home was severely damaged.

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