Family of five hospitalized with CO poisoning

February 18, 2010 5:16:19 PM PST
A family, desperate to stay warm, was rushed to a hospital after using a grill to heat their home when they were overcome by carbon monoxide. It happened at a mobile home near Magnolia, on McIntosh. All but one of those who were overcome by fumes Thursday are now out of the hospital. The matriarch of the family told us she had no idea what carbon monoxide was or that she was exposing her entire family to it while trying to keep them warm.

Dianna Tauzin showed us the barbeque pit she says she had inside her mobile home the night before last. Inside were embers from wood burning as she says she tried to keep her children warm.

"I didn't think I was doing something that dangerous. That I had no idea what I was doing about it. I didn't have no idea sir," said Tauzin.

She, her husband, her two adult children and her three-month-old granddaughter were all overcome by carbon monoxide from the burning embers.

"We had our window open in the living room, but it wasn't enough. It was just about two inches, I want to say," said Tauzin.

She says their electricity had been turned off a month ago after they couldn't pay the bill, so they had no heat. They were moving the grill throughout the house and repeatedly loading it with embers as they burned.

Tauzin didn't know they were silently being poisoned until it was almost too late. They all got sick, getting dizzy and throwing up inside the home. She says she called 911.

"It is scary, sir. Sometimes parents have to do what parents have to do to keep your children warm," said Tauzin.

Her 21-year-old son is still in the hospital in the intensive care unit. The fire marshal's office says as a result of this incident that Child Protective Services is investigating the ongoing welfare and living conditions now of that three month old baby.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 400 Americans die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning. More than 20,000 people end up in emergency rooms, and more than 4,000 are actually hospitalized.