EMT Identified in Fatal Texas Carbon Monoxide Exposure

EMT Identified in Fatal Texas Carbon Monoxide Exposure

News Aug 15, 2010

WHITE OAK, Texas -- One emergency medical technician died and two co-workers were hospitalized Friday after being overcome by carbon monoxide while on duty in the small east Texas town of White Oak.

The three victims were found around 7 a.m. Friday by other workers during a shift change, said Victoria Ashworth, a spokeswoman at Good Shepherd Medical Center in Long view, which operates Champion EMS in White Oak.

Ashworth told The Associated Press that the carbon monoxide apparently was from a generator left running on an ambulance.

Casey Steenland, a 33-year-old EMT who was in training, was pronounced dead after being taken to the hospital, Ashworth said. Steenland, of Diana, was a married mother of four, Ashworth said.

"She was a dedicated, loyal member of that team and she'll be missed by everyone," Ashworth said.

Steenland's two co-workers -- Daniel Gaona, a 23-year-old EMT, and Ron Masten, a 43-year-old paramedic -- remained hospitalized in good condition late Friday afternoon, Ashworth said. The two were given oxygen treatment in a hyperbaric chamber, she said.

One of the rescuers, Jody Coke, 32, was treated for carbon monoxide exposure and released, Ashworth said.

The Longview News-Journal reported that Justice of the Peace B.H. Jameson said the ambulance was parked in the bay and all of the doors were closed.

"It is my understanding that the other two employees were on a different side of the building, which saved their lives," Jameson said.

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Officials said in a news conference Friday afternoon that the building does not have carbon monoxide detectors because it is all electric.

Because of the circumstances of this accident, Ashworth said, carbon monoxide detectors were installed in all 22 Champion EMS stations across east Texas on Friday.

Jameson said Steenland's body was sent to Tyler for an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.

The newspaper reported that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration was investigating.

White Oak is a town of about 6,200, situated 115 miles east of Dallas.

The Associated Press/El Paso Times (Texas)
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