Four adults are dead from apparent carbon monoxide poisoning inside a Burien home.
Four members of a Burien family are dead from apparent carbon monoxide poisoning.
The four, whose identities weren’t released, were found dead this afternoon by relatives who hadn’t heard from them, said King County sheriff’s Sgt. John Urquhart. A fifth person found inside the house in the 11700 block of Ambaum Boulevard Southwest has been hospitalized.
The five were identified as a man and his wife and their three sons, ages 14, 21 and 23. It was believed the survivor was either the 21- or 23-year-old son, Urquhart said.
The five, all Vietnamese immigrants, had been exposed to the fumes from a generator, Urquhart said.
The deaths bring the total number of deaths related to last week’s windstorm to 12.
The deaths of two other people have been attributed to carbon monoxide poisoning. A 26-year-old man was found dead in Kirkland on Saturday morning with a generator running in his living room. A 31-year-old Renton man was found dead Sunday morning in his home, a charcoal grill was near his body.
More than 100 other people, including an 11-month-old baby, have been treated at Seattle-area hospitals after inhaling the fumes of generators and charcoal barbecues dragged indoors.
Many have been treated at Virginia Mason Medical Center, in a hyperbaric chamber, which re-oxygenates the blood.
“We’re dealing with a carbon-monoxide epidemic in Western Washington,” said Dr. Neil Hampson in the Center for Hyperbaric Medicine at Virginia Mason. “This has the potential to be the worst case of carbon-monoxide poisoning in the country.”
Among the patients treated at Harborview and Virginia Mason were 34 Kent residents, mostly Somali immigrants, who had been cooking and warming themselves over charcoal grills brought indoors, according to the Kent Fire Department.
The state Department of Health asked the federal Centers for Disease Control to immediately translate its poison-prevention worksheets into five African and Southeast Asian languages. Public Health-Seattle & King County also asked groups active in immigrant communities to caution against using heat sources with toxic byproducts.
Health officials emphasized that the poisoning was preventable with basic precautions, and that quick treatment could stave off long-term brain damage or reduced functioning.
“I think this is a fairly dire circumstance, and I wonder tremendously about people who are desperate, cold and do not quite know where to turn,” said Dr. Bob Kalus, Harborview’s associate director of emergency care.