Two critical after carbon monoxide poisoning at condominium complex

by: Alison Grande Updated:


SEATTLE - A total of seven people, including a police officer, were taken to the hospital for possible exposure to carbon monoxide. Two men in one condo had been overcome by CO when neighbors found them.

Before Wednesday evening, neighbors at a six-unit condo building on the 137-hundred block 35th Avenue NE in Seattle knew the Coronas were a great couple.  They were even considered the type of couple who would "lay down their lives" for other people.  Wednesday at almost 5 p.m. they lived up to that description, word for word.

Karen and Marty Corona got home and smelled exhaust and gas wafting through the building. Those inside the condo complex were being exposed to carbon monoxide (CO) which is potentially life threatening.

The Corona’s traced the source of the CO to the garage of their neighbors, two older gentlemen they'd known since the Coronas' 20-year-old daughter was in fourth grade.  They banged on the door and heard nothing.  But they could smell noxious fumes.  So, they went and got their neighbors' spare key.  They'd been entrusted with it, and now there's no mystery why.

The Coronas found one of the men unconscious and lying on the floor.  They called 911, and then as they choked on the acrid air, started trying to pull the man out.  A responding police officer arrived and helped. Then firefighters got to the scene.  They found the other man near the garage where they believe a car had been running for quite some time.

The air in the condo had been so thick with gas -- the police officer and the Coronas had to be treated for CO poisoning.  They were sucking on oxygen when medics took them to the hospital.

The man found unconscious inside the garage and his roommate found upstairs in the condo both arrived at Virginia Mason in critical condition according to the Seattle Fire Department. The hospital told us they were being "medically evaluated" but would not elaborate on their conditions Wednesday night.

They were fighting for their lives, and only had a chance because of their neighbors, the Coronas. "What an incredible move they did by stepping in and making a difference," said Seattle Fire's Lt. Sue Stangl.  "They're really giving these gentlemen a chance to live."

The Coronas' daughter Emily says she's not surprised her parents risked everything to help their neighbors. "They're pretty special people," she said of her parents.  When asked if she's proud of them, she bit her lip, barely kept a tear from falling and simply nodded her head.

Now Seattle Police are trying to determine how and why the car was left running so long. 

A number of others in the building were also experiencing symptoms of CO poisoning, although much less severe. In all 7 patients were taken to Virginia Mason Hospital to be checked out. The hospital specializes in hyperbaric medicine. The hospital has a hyperbaric chamber that holds 16 patients. It is designed to provide oxygen to all parts of the body in amounts greater than possible under normal conditions.

It is a life-saving treatment for patients poisoned by carbon monoxide.

Some symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include- headache and dizziness, nausea and vomiting, shortness of breath, blurred vision and loss of consciousness.

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