WHITE LAKE — Officers with the White lake Police Department were sent to Ryan Road on Tuesday night to investigate a reported gas leak.
According to Lt. Mike Salmon, White Lake police officer B. Yandle and a White Lake Fire Department first responder smelled the odor of propane and found the doors to the residence to be locked. Officer Yandle was able open a window on the residence looking inside where he saw one unconscious woman laying on the floor and one semi-conscious girl.
“Officer Yandle called out to the victims and the girl was able to answer and follow his directions when he told her to open the door,” Salmon said. “Once the girl opened the door she collapsed. Yandle and the first responder made entry into the residence where they found two boys and one additional girl unconscious. Yandle and the first responder began removing the victims from the residence.”
The investigation revealed the grandmother, 67, was spending spring break with her four grandchildren — ages 3, 8, 8 and 12 — at her vacation home. After cooking dinner for her and the children, they all became ill. The 12-year-old girl called family members in another county informing them everybody was sick.
“Family members first thought the grandmother and grandkids had contracted a stomach bug,” Salmon said. “Family members called back to check on the well-being of the kids when they realized the 12-year-old was incoherent, as was the grandmother when they spoke by phone.”
Salmon added that concerned family members called 911.
“During the course of the investigation it was found that a burner on the gas stove was in the ‘on’ position,” he said. “It is not known if the stove was accidentally left on or the residence, being a travel trailer and five people inside, someone could have accidentally bumped into the stove turning the knob.”
All five victims were transported to Cape Fear Valley Hospital in Elizabethtown and later transferred to Duke University Hospital for further treatment. It was reported that all are doing well.
“Please let this incident be a reminder of the importance of having working carbon monoxide detectors in homes and business,” Salmon said. “In the event your carbon monoxide detector activates, evacuate immediately and call 911. Also, as with smoke detectors, batteries need to be checked and changed.”