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Carbon-Monoxide Poisoning Under Investigation

Posted July 2, 2007

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— State authorities are investigating the carbon-monoxide poisoning of two members of a janitorial crew who were found unconscious Saturday night inside a tire store.

The men, who were recovering at their homes Monday, were rescued by a father and son who stopped by Atlantic Avenue Tire & Service, 2131 Harrod St.

Brent Crowder, the service manager at the business, said he wanted to pick up a car so he could work on it at home. He and his son saw a man lying on the floor inside next to a floor buffer.

"I said, 'I can't believe he's taking a nap while he's supposed to be cleaning the floor,'" Crowder said.

But Hunter Crowder, 16, an emergency medical technician trainee, sensed something was wrong, his father said. He called 911, and the father and son dragged two men out of the building.

"He was dragging me out, saying, 'Something's not right,'" Brent Crowder said.

Hunter Crowder then administered CPR to one of the men outside, his father said.

The men, who worked for Jan-Pro, were using a propane buffer and were overcome by carbon monoxide fumes, said Allen McNeely, an investigator with the state Department of Labor. He said it's too early to say whether the crew used the equipment improperly or the buffer was faulty.

The incident marks the second time in recent months workers have been overcome by carbon monoxide while working with gas-powered equipment.

Two workers died in February at the Kidde Aerospace and Defense plant in Wilson when they used a concrete saw in an enclosed area of the plant. Both Kidde and an electrical contractor were fined by the state for safety violations.

Jan-Pro officials said the two workers followed the same procedures at Atlantic Avenue Tire & Service that company crews have always used. The company plans to inspect the buffer to see if it wasn't working properly, officials said.

But Richard Leicht, the owner of the tire store, blamed the workers for the incident.

"They were in an enclosed area. It was properly air-conditioned, heated and ventilated, but they didn't open up all the doors and take the proper precautions," Leicht said.

Brent Crowder said he is amazed by his son's quick thinking in responding to the situation.

"Everybody's proud of their kid, but this was an unusual feeling," he said.

12 Comments

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  • Steve Crisp Jul 4, 2007

    To sleepalot:

    Propane react with oxygen to produce carbon dioxide and water UNLESS the air/fuel mixure is off. If there is too little oxygen, you get incomplete combustion with CO and carbon as the byproduct in addition to CO2 and H2O. This can be visualized by a black smoke coming from the buffer exhaust as suspended carbon particles. If you see that, you have CO as well. Actually, if you see carbon, then you have a lot of CO. It's when you don't really see the carbon that you have a problem since CO is insidious and can sneak up on you quickly.

    And no conbustion reaction in an internal combustion engine is perfect; you're always gonna get some CO from the combustion of propane unless it is in an oxygen-rich environment. Then you tend to get an explosion. And a nice one at that.

  • poppadoc Jul 4, 2007

    Hi everyone its Hunter and I have to say that I could not of done this alone my dad helped me also I could not have carryed them out alone.

    Also I am not a hero the true heros are the ones at Eastern Wake EMS where I work that tought me everything I know and did on Sat. I just did what I am Trained to do and what hopfully any other American with a heart would of done so kudos goes out to my daddy Brent and everyone who has ever helped me in the EMS world.

  • Sleepsalot Jul 3, 2007

    The boy did a great job. Also the company needs to get rid of the buffer. Propane doesn't produce carbon monoxide this is why most factories use propane for fork trucks.

  • poppadoc Jul 3, 2007

    AS I PUT YESTERDAY. I AM A VERY PROUD PARENT OF GABRIELLE 7, AND HUNTER 16,BY THE WAY THEY HANDLED THEMSELVES BUT I AM EQUALLY PROUD OF J.T. 17, AND KENIDEE 6,. AS MOST PARENTS ALL OF MY CHILDREN ARE
    SPECIAL IN THERE OWN WAYS! LOL ! FIRST YOUR MAD AT YOUR TEENAGE SON FOR NOT BEING HOME ON TIME THE NIGHT BEFORE, AND THEN HE GOES AND SAVES SOMEONE THE NEXT.LOL. BRENT

  • Vette Jul 3, 2007

    Great job Hunter.

  • lovecarolinagutters Jul 3, 2007

    Good thing they stopped by. Good for you Hunter

  • houdie1031 Jul 3, 2007

    It's great that Hunter realized that the men weren't just being lazy. He is a true Hero. As for the owner, I wouldn't want to work for him; He needs to take some responsibility for the near death of these two workers. I'm so glad they were saved.

  • camanderikfan Jul 3, 2007

    Way to go Hunter! We need more 16 yr. olds like you in this world. Those 2 men were very lucky that you stopped by there that day.

  • Adelinthe Jul 3, 2007

    Praying for these guys. Carbon monoxide poisoning can effect you adversely for the rest of your lives.

    Kudos to Hunter!

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • nbforrest Jul 3, 2007

    Way to go Hunter!

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