TAHOE CITY, Calif. (KTXL) — Tahoe City fire officials found high levels of carbon monoxide in a vacation home where a family was celebrating Thanksgiving.
Drinking glasses were hastily left on the dining table where 13 family members, ranging in age from 3 to 70 years old, had gathered for the holiday at a North Lake Tahoe rental home on Tahoma Drive.
They began feeling ill, officials said, believing it was altitude sickness. Two of them felt sick enough to go to the emergency room.
“The hospital immediately identified that it was carbon monoxide poisoning and notified us," North Tahoe Fire Protection District spokeswoman Erin Holland said.
The home was immediately aired out. There was no carbon monoxide alarm inside the rental home.
"They ran the furnace to do some testing and the levels in the basement were at 446 parts per million,” Holland said. "And so that is certainly something that is going to cause fatality in a short period of time."
Fortunately for the family, they all got out in time and are doing OK. Among them was actress Anna Faris, who expressed her relief on social media.
I’m not quite sure how to express gratitude to the north Lake Tahoe fire department- we were saved from carbon monoxide- it’s a stupidly dramatic story but I’m feeling very fortunate pic.twitter.com/zqsW77Tda0
— Anna Faris (@AnnaKFaris) November 30, 2019
"Not only is it the silent killer, it's sort of that forgotten hazard," North Tahoe Fire Protection District Chief Michael Schwartz said.
Schwartz said because family members didn't ignore their symptoms, the hospital staff was astute in their diagnosis and fire personnel notified the family to get out, even before they physically arrived.
Five days later, the front door of the home remained open to continue ventilating the inside.
Clarification: Placer County recently approved a new rental ordinance that requires vacation rentals to have a fire inspection every three years to verify smoke/carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers and other fire safety measures. The ordinance goes into effect Jan. 1.