Four people are fortunate to have escaped a home safely after an undetected carbon monoxide leak in their home on Boxing Day.

The City of Winnipeg says in a release that they were called to a home on Redwood Avenue for a medical emergency around 7:20 p.m.

When firefighters arrived, portable carbon monoxide alarms worn by WFPS members sounded due to high levels of carbon monoxide in the house.

Firefighters evacuated the home and everyone got out safely. 

The City of Winnipeg’s Emergency Social Services (ESS) team responded to the home to help four people find alternate temporary accommodations until they can re-enter their home.

The City offers a number of tips in the release and on their website, and says they respond to hundreds of carbon monoxide calls each year with the highest volumes of calls coming in the cold months of December and January as furnaces work over time.

Leigh Gruener, Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service (WFPS) Public Education Officer, says that the City strongly encourages everyone to have carbon monoxide detectors in their homes. One should be installed in each level of the home.

The symptoms of minor carbon monoxide poisoning can mimic those of the common flu.

“You could experience headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, mental confusion, weakness, vision or hearing impairment, and shortness of breath,” Gruener says.

“If you feel any of those you should leave your home immediately and call 911.”

Tips for preventing carbon monoxide poisoning:

  • Have fuel-burning appliances such as furnaces, wood-burning fireplaces and gas dryers cleaned and checked annually by a qualified service technician.
  • Make sure wood stoves are properly installed and vented.
  • Never idle vehicles in an attached garage even if the garage door is open.
  • Ensure all fresh air intake vents, exhaust vents, and chimneys are clear of snow, insulation, leaves, bird nests, lint, and debris.
  • Check forced air fans for proper ventilation.
  • Don't operate gasoline-powered engines, charcoal or propane barbecue/grills, or kerosene stoves in closed spaces or indoors.