A family of four in Hsinchu City was rescued at around 10:00 am this morning after relatives were alerted to the fact that the parents had not showed up at work, and the children did not go to school.
Relatives who entered the apartment found the parents unconscious in different rooms, while the 2 teenaged girls were on the living room sofa suffering from dizziness and unable to move. The relatives quickly opened all the windows and doors and called emergency services.
The 42 year-old father later regained consciousness in the hospital, but his 41 year-old wife was still in a coma later in the afternoon, and was transferred to a hospital in Taipei.
Preliminary investigations by the Fire Bureau suggest that the family became sick yesterday evening due to a gas hot water system being installed on an enclosed balcony without sufficient ventilation. As family members bathed, the carbon monoxide level in the apartment rose to a critical level.
Gas hot water systems installed on enclosed balconies are a common cause of accidental CO poisoning in Taiwan.
Doctors said that the man had a blood CO level of 18%, the woman, 26%, and the girls 13% and 10.3%. A normal level is around 5%, and 10% constitutes CO poisoning.