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Grandmother, grandchildren rescued after being overcome by carbon monoxide

White_Lake_PD_logoA grandmother and her four grandchildren were hospitalized Tuesday night after being found overcome by carbon monoxide fumes from a gas stove inside a White Lake vacation home.

White Lake police officer Brooks Yandle and a member of the town’s fire department responded to a call to Ryan Road at 10:19 p.m. Tuesday and smelled propane gas, according to police Lt. Mike Salmon. The door to the travel trailer was locked, but Yandle was able to open a window where he saw a woman lying unconscious on the floor and a girl in a semi-conscious state. The girl was able to open the door before collapsing.

Once inside, the officer and firefighter found two boys and a girl unconscious, Salmon said. All victims were removed from the residence.

Names of the victims were not released.

The investigation found that after cooking dinner, the 67-year-old woman and her grandchildren — a three-year-old, two eight-year-olds and a 12-year-old — became ill. The 12-year-old girl called family members in another county to tell them everyone was sick. The family thought the woman and children may have had a stomach virus.

The family checked back later by phone and found the girl and grandmother incoherent, the investigation found. The family called 911 and requested authorities check the residence.

The investigation found that a burner on the gas stove was in the “on” position. It’s not known if the stove was accidentally left on or if someone accidentally bumped the knob.

The victims were taken to Cape Fear Valley Hospital in Elizabethtown and transferred to Duke University Hospital in Durham for further treatment. Salmon said all victims are doing well.

Salmon also noted that the incident should serve as a reminder to have a working carbon monoxide detector in homes and businesses and, if the detector activates, everyone should evacuate immediately.

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