Water heater blamed in carbon monoxide poisoning that killed 4
BLANCHARD, N.D. -- Three adults and a 6-year-old died from carbon monoxide poisoning from an improperly vented water heater in eastern North Dakota, the Traill County Sheriff's Office said Tuesday. Four other people, including three young childre...
BLANCHARD, N.D. -- Three adults and a 6-year-old died from carbon monoxide poisoning from an improperly vented water heater in eastern North Dakota, the Traill County Sheriff's Office said Tuesday.
Four other people, including three young children, survived and were taken to a Fargo hospital.
At 10:18 p.m. Sunday, the Sheriff's Office received a 911 call from a rural Blanchard home requesting help. Initially, emergency responders didn't know the reason for the request and lost contact with the caller, prompting emergency responders to scramble to the home.
According to a news release, officers found several people inside and suffering varying degrees of distress. They rescued three children -- ages 4, 2 and 8 months -- from the upper floors of the home.
"Upon entering the basement of the residence, officers found five more unresponsive persons," the release said. Officers began to feel sick and had to leave the house but Hillsboro firefighters on scene, with full breathing apparatus, entered the basement and rescued one person."
Bonnie Fisher, 45, of Blanchard was taken by ambulance to Sanford Hospital in Fargo.
Firefighters also found four people who died. They were home owner Ross Matejcek, 53, of Blanchard, Ricky Fisher, 27, of Blanchard, Margaret Fisher, 24, of Blanchard, and Jabin Newmes, 6, of Portland, N.D.
"It appears during investigation that a propane fueled tankless water heater, which was being used to fill a large swimming pool, was improperly vented, causing carbon monoxide to build up in the home," the Sheriff's Office said in its news release.
The Sheriff's Office and North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation were the investigating agencies. No foul play is suspected.
Other agencies assisting on the call were the Hillsboro Police Department, Hillsboro Ambulance, Hillsboro Fire Department and West Traill Ambulance.
Billy Knutson, of Harwood, N.D., said Monday that his sister, Bonnie Fisher, was in intensive care at a Fargo hospital Monday night after the deaths of her boyfriend, son, daughter and grandson. All five lived in the house in Blanchard, Knutson said.
Sanford Medical Center spokeswoman Margot Peterson said Fisher, 45, was in stable condition Monday night. The hospital didn't provide additional information on other possible hospital admissions from the incident.
Blanchard is an unincorporated town off Highway 200 in Traill County, about midway between Grand Forks and Fargo. It had a population of 26, according to the 2010 U.S. census.