Airway & Respiratory, News, Operations, Patient Care

Santa Clara County Firefighters, Paramedics Hospitalized After Carbon Monoxide Exposure

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Calif. — Initially, the call to Santa Clara County dispatch seemed routine enough — a man was in need of medical attention at the Cupertino City Center Apartments on Stevens Creek Boulevard.

When county firefighters and the American Medical Response ambulance crew arrived, they found the man lying unconscious in the locker room of the complex’s pool house.

They began trying to revive the man when suddenly the three firefighters, the three paramedics and the person who discovered the initial patient began feeling woozy.

“They didn’t see or smell anything unusual, but then, wow, they began working on the patient and started feeling lightheaded and nauseous,” said Kendall Pearson, battalion chief for the Santa Clara County Fire Department. “That pretty much clued them in something was wrong in the space.”

After clearing the area, San Jose’s hazardous materials team found a high level of carbon monoxide that apparently had been leaking from faulty equipment in the locker room.

Ultimately, eight patients, including the firefighters, paramedics and the two residents, went to three different hospitals. The firefighters were treated and released, but the paramedics and the initial patient remained hospitalized Monday evening, Pearson said. The status of the other resident was not known, he said.

“It’s kind of bizarre to have something like this happen,” Pearson said.