People 'Doing Anything' to Stay Warm, Risking Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

People 'Doing Anything' to Stay Warm, Risking Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

By Julia Deng
NewsWest 9

ODESSA - People are resorting to "all sorts of dangerous things" to stay warm, as temperatures throughout the Basin dip to the teens, according to the West Odessa Volunteer Fire Chief.

"They'll use anything they can do try to stay warm," Chief Jimmy Ellis told NewsWest 9.

Dangerous heating practices include keeping stoves and ovens on for hours in an attempt to warm a house or apartment; letting hot water run in the shower, unattended, for extended periods of time and lighting backyard grills indoors.

"If they're gas operated, they put off carbon monoxide" Ellis said. "And you cannot have those [grills] in the house for very long without it putting off a lethal amount of carbon monoxide. That's the worst thing in the world to do."

Carbon monoxide gas, which is colorless and odorless, can go undetected for hours without a home gas detector.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain and confusion, according to the National Institutes of Health.

"If you suspect that you are experiencing Carbon Monoxide poisoning, get fresh air immediately," the Consumer Product Safety Commission said. "Leave the home and call for assistance from a neighbor's home. You could lose consciousness and die from Carbon Monoxide poisoning if you stay in the home."

Two Odessa women were found dead in their home in November following a gas leak.

The mother and daughter's deaths are believed to be a result of carbon monoxide poisoning, according to Odessa Police.

Fire officials said proper ventilation can prevent similar incidents.

"Keep a window open at all times," Ellis said. "I understand [people] want to stay warm but it's not worth dying over."