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A family of five has been airlifted to hospital in serious condition after suffering carbon monoxide poisoning in Barriere, B.C.

Shannon Miller, communications officer with B.C. Emergency Health Services, said a quick acting 911 caller was able to get everyone out of the home Thursday morning, even though two of the family members were unconscious.

“Our paramedics were there within 10 minutes. When our carbon detectors went into the house there were high levels of carbon monoxide,” she said.

The two people in the most serious condition were airlifted and the other three were transported by ground to nearby Kamloops. All five were then taken by air ambulance to Vancouver in serious but stable condition.

In a separate incident in Vancouver on Wednesday, 13 people were taken to hospital and Miller says at least three other cases occurred last week in the Lower Mainland.

Paramedics responded to seven carbon monoxide poisonings in November and they see about 100 cases each year, Miller said.

Carbon monoxide is an odorless and colourless gas that is created by burning fuels, such as oil, wood, gas and propane. It may be released in homes by sources like furnaces and boilers that malfunction or are not installed properly, Health Canada says on its website.

Exposure to carbon monoxide can cause flu-like symptoms at low levels and lead to death in extreme cases, it says.

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