Johnston County family rescued after carbon monoxide poisoning from generator

Johnston County News

SELMA, N.C. (WNCN) — A Johnston County family was rescued Saturday after they were poisoned by carbon monoxide from a generator running near their home, fire officials say.

The call came in just before 7:10 a.m. from a family member at the home along Jordan Narron Road, according to Thanksgiving Fire Department Chief Paul Zais.

The home was occupied by an older teen boy, his parents and his grandmother, Zais said. Everyone — except the father — was already outside when crews arrived.

The father was in a bed and unresponsive.

“I sent the boys inside to get him — they pretty much drug him out,” Zais said, adding that the crews were using oxygen.

Zais said carbon monoxide levels were very high in the home because a running gasoline-fueled generator was placed just outside. Electricity had been cut off to the house, he said.

“They were having some hard times,” Zais said. “They were using a generator and tucked it up under the porch area to protect it from someone stealing it or from the rain we had last night.”

The family was using a propane heater for heat in the house and using the generator at night for lights, Zais said.

All family members were taken to Johnston Memorial Hospital in Smithfield. The grandmother was later transferred to a regional hospital for advanced care, Zais said.

He added that the family had cats and dogs that were very sick inside the house.

Zais said carbon monoxide readings above 15 parts per million are considered dangerous. Zais said he was the first to arrive and levels at the front door read 216 parts per million.

“Carbon monoxide will get you — you will go to sleep and never wake up,” Zais said.

The fire department is accepting funds to help the family and Zais said they have already had some anonymous donations Saturday.

To contact Thanksgiving Fire Department email or call (919) 965-4230 or contact them on Facebook at or visit the fire station at 2375 Thanksgiving Fire Department Road in Selma.

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