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After 2 die from carbon monoxide, Minnesotans urged to take precautions

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The deaths of two women in Lindstrom from carbon monoxide poisoning have state officials reminding Minnesotans to be aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide, especially during the winter, and to install CO monitors in their homes.

The women, Lisa Marie Kantorowicz, 53, and Cheryl Carmel Adams, 56, were found dead in their home Monday afternoon, along with their pet German shepherd. Local police say the carbon monoxide levels in their home were extremely high, likely because the furnace’s exhaust pipe was blocked with soot and ice and the deadly gas built up inside the house.

Earlier this winter a father and daughter died of carbon monoxide poisoning, and two other family members fell ill, in their home just outside of Duluth.

The Star Tribune reports the number of accidental deaths from carbon monoxide poisoning has been going up in recent years. The state health department estimates 22 people died of CO poisoning in 2014, and there were 18 deaths in 2013. The paper notes another 500 people were treated at hospitals for CO exposure last year, according to the Minnesota Poison Control System.

The danger of carbon monoxide poisoning is higher in the winter when doors and windows stay closed and people are burning fuel indoors in fireplaces, gas heaters and other appliances, according to the state Department of Public Safety.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include dizziness, vomiting, headaches and fatigue, which are often signs of other illnesses, so sometimes people don't recognize the danger at first.

Minnesota law requires homes have at least one operational CO alarm within 10 feet of every room legally used for sleeping.

KARE 11 has some tips on how to choose the best carbon monoxide detector for your home.

The Minnesota Department of Health has more information about CO poisoning and how to prevent CO leaks in your home.

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