KENT, Wash. (AP) -- King County emergency officials are warning residents who have lost electricity in this week's snow and ice storm not to use barbecues to heat their homes. Two families in the Seattle suburb of Kent were taken to hospitals Friday night after suffering separate cases of possible carbon monoxide poisoning.
Kent Deputy Fire Marshal Don Barberie says one adult and three children complained of dizziness, headaches and nausea in the first instance. They had been using a small charcoal barbecue to heat their home.
An hour later, a family of two adults and three teens at a different apartment complex had also been heating with a charcoal barbecue just before they fell ill.
Carbon monoxide is a clear and odorless gas that blocks the body's ability to absorb oxygen. Symptoms include headache, nausea, dizziness and fatigue. Carbon monoxide poisoning can be fatal.