Carbon Monoxide (CO) was the cause of death for a worker and a forman in a gold and silver mine in southwestern Colorado. Their deaths followed an explosives accident which released the gas into the air. The cause of the explosion was not known. Nineteen others were made ill by the gas.

Since the gas was introduced into the air by accident the usual additives were not present, which make the gas undetectable to mankind. Carbon Monoxide in its base form is tasteless, odorless and colorless. These men would have no warning. It is hoped that there was some type of alarm to warn them but the paper didn’ t mention it.

These men were overcome by the gas. Carbon Monoxide enters the bloodstream rapidly where it displaces oxygen in the hemoglobin (oxygen-carrying molecule in our red blood cells.) It clings to the blood 300 times faster then oxygen making it intensly deadly with even a short time of exposure.

Depending on the levels they received, these men could have encountered a variety of sympsoms. Carbon Monoxide poisoning includes the following reactions:

* A head ache making it hard to concentrate on a complex task but remain semi-funtional.

* Later the headache intensifies bringing with it terrible throbbing pain, feelings of nausa and vomiting as well as feeling faint with the possibility of lethargy.

* Next comes erratic breathing and a speeding pulse.

* Confusion and disoriantation follow, along with weakness and a loss of cordination.

* Finally a coma that most never recover from.

Carbon Monoxide posioning is deadly. Make sure that you have a CO Detector in your home and that you check the batteries ever 6 months to a year. Be smart, be safe, protect yourself from CO posioning.

Chicago Tribune
11-19-13 Section 1, Page 17

Forensics: A Guide for Writers
by D. P. Lyle, M.D.
Writer’s Digest Books
© 2008