NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search

Youth camp counselor dies of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Wisconsin Department of Health & Family Services
Morgantown, WV: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, FACE 00WI080, 2001 Mar; :1-4
A 15-year-old male camp counselor (the victim) died of carbon monoxide poisoning when the furnace malfunctioned in the cabin where he was sleeping. The victim had worked as a counselor at the camp for nine weeks, then planned to stay an extra week after the camp closed in late summer to assist with clean-up. On the night of the incident, he was the only person assigned to sleep in the building that housed the health services. The wood frame building had an furnace room which housed an LP gas fueled furnace and LP gas fueled water heater. The water heater was used continuously throughout the summer, while the furnace was only used infrequently and for brief time periods. There were no records to indicate when the furnace and water heater had been inspected or repaired. Smoke detectors were located on two opposite ends of the building, which held sleeping quarters for four people. There were no carbon monoxide detectors in the building. The victim went to the building about 8:30 p.m. the eve of the incident, and turned on the furnace before he went to bed. He kept the windows and doors closed. When the victim didn't show up for breakfast the next morning, a supervisor went to the building and found him motionless in bed. Emergency services were summoned, and EMS arrived at the scene within 25 minutes. The first responders found no signs of life in the victim, then exited the building until the sheriff arrived. The sheriff viewed the scene and determined there were no signs of foul play. The coroner was called to the scene, and pronounced the victim dead. The FACE investigator concluded that, to prevent similar occurrences, employers should: 1. Ensure that gas fueled appliances are installed and maintained to prevent production and buildup of carbon monoxide. 2. Ensure gas fueled appliances are inspected on a schedule recommended by the manufacturers by knowledgeable technicians with authority to make changes. 3. Install carbon monoxide detectors in buildings with gas fueled appliances. Additionally, emergency workers who respond to the scene of an unexplained death should: 4. Be trained in the hazards of an asphyxiating environment and methods to protect themselves during rescue and recovery efforts.
Region-5; Accident-analysis; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Traumatic-injuries; Work-operations; Work-analysis; Work-areas; Work-performance; Work-practices; Safety-education; Safety-equipment; Safety-measures; Safety-monitoring; Protective-measures; Gas-detectors; Gas-indicators; Gases; Poison-gases; Children; Training
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
FACE-00WI080; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-507081
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Wisconsin Department of Health & Family Services
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division