The Silent Killer: Living Without Carbon Monoxide Detectors

POSTED: Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - 4:57pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - 2:22pm

Friday Victims Identified

It's called the silent killer; and it seems to have killed one Westside man and hospitalized a woman at a home in the 5300 block of Doniphan last week.

El Paso Police have identified the deceased as 48-year-old Lorenzo Olivas-Perales. Police say, the woman he was living with, 48-year-old Gloria Rodriguez, remains at the hospital Wednesday.

Rodriguez' sister found the couple unconscious at the home Friday.

"You can't see it, you can't smell it. And you're really not aware that you're breathing carbon monoxide, until it's too late," said El Paso Fire Inspector John Concha.

A medical examiner has yet to verify the Olivas-Perales's official cause of death, but this may have been the first carbon-monoxide-poisoning death in El Paso County in two years, said Concha.

"All types of carbon monoxide incidents, poisonous can be prevented," he said.

Especially in this case, Concha said. The couple's home was not equipped with a carbon monoxide detector.

It's not a new story, but too many of us in El Paso don't have them, Concha said.

The Lowe's Home Improvement Center sells carbon monoxide detectors.

That's where NewsChannel 9 met Commercial Rep Jeff McKnight.

"This would be my first recommendation to any customer, being that this is the two-in-one alarm. This is your carbon monoxide and your gas detector," said McKnight, describing the KIDDE CO/Explosive Gas Combo Alarm.

From propane to carbon monoxide, the detector will find any gas at any level, said McKnight.

It's also good for ten years, he said, but comes at a hefty price. More than $42.00 at this store.

"You could also find a carbon monoxide detector that is also a smoke detector, which is also a great saver here in El Paso," he said.

If you're looking for combined smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, you can save up to $20.00 buying this detector.

But there's a catch.

"This only picks up the carbon, it won't pick up the gas," McKnight said.

Too confusing? McKnight suggests just look at the packaging.

Each product has its own rating; from the worst, one star, to the best, four stars.

The higher the rating, the more expensive the detector will be.

But bad or good, John Concha believes there's still one problem.

"The carbon monoxide detector is not required," he said.

Concha believes requiring these detectors in homes would save lives, but only if people heed the warning.

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