Lewiston Fire Dept. confirm carbon monoxide leak in apartment

LEWISTON, ID - Carbon monoxide, it's silent, deadly and you can't even tell if it's in your house.

A local mother and her daughter got physically ill, all because of a leak that they didn't know about. Rheny Hayden of Lewiston always keeps her windows open, even on the coldest days.

"If you think there's going to be some kind of accident, you don't expect it to be carbon monoxide poisoning in your apartment so that was definitely scary to hear that," said Hayden.

While keeping the windows open isn't necessary anymore, Hayden has gotten nervous after a carbon monoxide poisoning scare.

"I think it all kind of went on for about two months," said Hayden. "The tired, the headaches it just didn't really click until about two weeks ago that it was only happening in the apartment."

Carbon monoxide is also known as the silent killer, because it's odorless and tasteless. It can be released from gas, oil, or coal burning appliances if they're not maintained properly.

"The first thing that happened, is my eyes burned really bad and my daughter she kept telling me her eyes were burning too," said Hayden.

Hayden became concerned about her and her daughter's health, so this past Saturday, she bought a carbon monoxide detector.

"It immediately started going off," said Hayden. "As soon as I got back to my room and my daughters, the levels went up."

That's when Hayden called 9-1-1.

"They immediately came in and said their eyes starting burning, they could smell it, they felt it," said Hayden. "And so they wanted to open the doors and evacuate immediately."

"What they found was that the exhaust from the boiler in the basement was completely blocked," said Lewiston Fire Department Battalion Chief Kevin Kalbfleisch.

Kalbfleisch said getting gas, oil, or coal burning appliances checked and maintained is a way to prevent leaks from occurring. And he suggests to keep a carbon monoxide detector in your home. Hayden said they've moved back into the apartment but she keeps the alarm right next to her bed every night.

"It's just like wow, I can't believe I could have died," said Hayden.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website says the most common symptoms of Carbon Monoxide poisoning are headache, dizziness, nausea and vomiting.