Noelle Walker

Dallas Church Dinner Serves As Cautionary Tale About Dangers of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

A church dinner ended with 10 people sent to the hospital Wednesday night with carbon monoxide poisoning.

A propane gas grill was being used inside the Calvary Philadelphia Missionary Baptist Church. With all the windows and doors closed to keep out the cold, there was nowhere to vent the fumes from the small neighborhood church in South Dallas.

"Carbon monoxide, unfortunately it's something you cannot see. You cannot smell it, and it is very toxic," Dallas Fire and Rescue Senior Fire Prevention Officer Daisy Castaneda said. "It will kill someone."

No one died in the Wednesday night incident, but 2 of the 10 people treated for carbon monoxide poisoning had to be admitted to the hospital. The symptoms to exposure can set in in a matter of minutes.

"Number one is a headache. A killing headache. It's like your head is going to burst," Dr. Francisco Neira said.

Other symptoms include dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, confusion and a lack of coordination. According to the Centers for Disease Control, every year at least 430 people in the U.S. die from carbon monoxide poisoning and 50,000 people go to emergency rooms to be treated for it.

"When you start putting things inside that are meant to be outdoors, like a gas grill, a gas heater, that's when it becomes extremely dangerous," Castaneda said. "Do not do that."

Castaneda said every home should have at least one carbon monoxide detector installed low to the floor, because carbon monoxide sinks.

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