Two Dixie residents critical after apparent carbon monoxide poisoning

Published: Monday, January 10, 2011 at 2:07 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 10, 2011 at 2:07 p.m.

Two people remain hospitalized Monday after they were pulled from a Dixie County mobile home that apparently had become filled with deadly carbon monoxide gas.

Deputies and ambulance crews were dispatched Friday to a mobile home at 17742 SE U.S. 19, which is a mobile home park on the edge of Cross City. The first deputy sent inside found a man and a woman unresponsive in a rear bedroom.

Sheriff’s spokesman Major Scott Harden said the man, Curtis Ray Snellgrove, 37, could not be roused once he had been removed from the house.

The other victim, Melanie Smith, 36, was somewhat able to respond verbally, Harden said. Both victims were taken to Shands at the University of Florida in critical condition and were later transferred to Tallahassee and remained hospitalized on Monday.

Harden said the couple was using “a large, shop-type, Coleman heater that was not supposed to be used inside a home.”

The heater was being fueled by a 20-pound propane cylinder found nearly empty near the heater. It was not immediately clear how long the couple may have been inside the mobile home with the heater running.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, carbon monoxide “is a colorless, odorless, tasteless toxic gas produced by incomplete combustion in fuel-burning devices such as motor vehicles, gas-powered furnaces, and portable generators.”

Inhaling the gas can be fatal and in the most recent study available to the federal agency, accounted for nearly 500 unintentional deaths and 15,000 emergency room visits annually.

Federal health officials said the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are often overlooked by victims. The symptoms often include headache, nausea, dizziness or confusion and can go undetected in those who fall asleep in an area where the gas is building up.

Officials said the best ways to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning are to install household detectors — which appear similar to smoke detectors — and to avoid using heaters indoors that are intended for outdoor use.

Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

▲ Return to Top