One adult is dead and a youth has been flown to hospital with serious injuries after a suspected carbon monoxide poisoning at a campsite in Salmon Arm.
Cpl. Chris Manseau with the RCMP E Division said officers were called out to a private campsite outside of Salmon Arm Saturday morning, where they found one person already dead inside a tent, and a young person suffering from serious injuries.
He did not know the ages or gender of the victims. There are reports a woman died at the Sandy Point Beach campground.
The coroner was called in to investigate and police believe there is nothing suspicious about the death.
Manseau said there was a camp stove that was being used to cook in the small tent. It is believed the carbon monoxide from using fuel was responsible for both the fatality and the youth’s injuries.
With the May long weekend typically being a popular weekend to camp, Manseau warned people not to use camp stoves inside poorly ventilated spaces.
Technical Safety B.C. warns people to “never operate portable fuel-burning devices such as camp stoves, barbecues or generators indoors or in closed spaces.”
Carbon monoxide, sometimes called the “invisible killer,” is colourless, odourless and tasteless, and can be fatal when inhaled.
Unlike many other toxins and poisons, carbon monoxide doesn’t immediately irritate a person’s body or cause pain, so there’s often no warning sign of its presence, according to a provincial awareness campaign.
Initial symptoms can include dizziness, severe headaches, nausea, sleepiness, fatigue and disorientation.
Carbon monoxide inhibits the blood’s capacity to carry oxygen and at high levels or with prolonged exposure can also cause chest pain, poor vision and difficulty thinking. Too high a concentration can cause cause convulsions, coma and death.
At least 50 people in Canada die of carbon monoxide poisoning every year but there is no national database, Pierre Voisine, a director with the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs said in 2017.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warn that fuel-burning equipment such as camping stoves, camping heaters, lanterns, and charcoal grills should never be used inside a tent, camper or other enclosed shelter.
“Opening tent flaps, doors or windows is insufficient to prevent build-up of CO concentrations from these devices. When using fuel-burning devices outdoors, the exhaust should not vent into enclosed shelters,” according to a report.
With files from Canadian Press