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Carbon Monoxide Knocks Out Couple In Slice St. Home
Democrat and Chronicle
Wednesday, March 27, 2002

Gunther Home Inspections

Rochester firefighters on Tuesday rescued a couple who had passed out from carbon monoxide poisoning in their house.

Fire Capt. Dan McBride said firefighters were called to 25 Alice St. about 7:30 a.m. and found the two unconscious on the floor.

Frank Hoffman, 52, and his fiancee, Cui Qing Chen, were treated at Strong Memorial Hospital and released.

McBride said they were lucky.

One firefighter's gas detector immediately registered 2,000 parts of carbon monoxide per million parts of air. That is the maximum registration, so the concentration could have been higher, McBride said. Anybody who breathes 1,600 parts per million likely will die after an hour, he said.

A household carbon monoxide detector will begin beeping at 100 parts per million, he said.

Hoffman said he's thankful for the department's quick response and said he has accepted an invitation to have lunch with the firefighters in the Gardiner Avenue firehouse Thursday.

"They apologized for breaking the door," he said. "I said, 'Geez, that's the least of my problems.' "

The gas buildup was caused by a blocked chimney flue, McBride said. The house has a gas boiler and water heater.

Hoffman said he had been gone from the house for three days because he had gone to Chicago to pick up his fiancee, who had flown in from China. He had met her in 1999 while he was working there for Eastman Kodak Co.

Hoffman said he had arrived at the house shortly after 6 a.m. and noticed a strange odor. He made sure the boiler and stove were working properly, then assumed there had been a slight sewer backup while he was gone.

Cui went upstairs and collapsed. They thought perhaps she was weak from hunger and travel, so they lay down.

But Cui would not respond when Hoffman tried to wake her up. So he called 911, and the dispatcher told him to get out of the house.

"I carried her into the kitchen," Hoffman said. "Then I don't remember anything until the paramedics were reviving me outside."

Hoffman said he plans to buy a carbon monoxide detector right away. He had been waiting for them to go on sale.

"That's a case of me being too cheap for my own good."

By Patrick Flanigan Democrat and Chronicle (March 27, 2002) Reprinted With Permition From The Democrat and Chronicle


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