Charcoal Grill Being Used to Heat Home Sickens Family

A charcoal grill, being used to heat a Montgomery County home left in the dark after this week's ice storm, has sent a family to the hospital.

Four people, including an elderly man and a child, fell ill around 9:15 p.m. on Thursday after using the grill inside their home along Loggers Mill Road near Sawyer's Way in Horsham, Pa., Montgomery County fire dispatchers tell NBC10.

Officials believe carbon monoxide poisoning is the cause of their sickness.

"I was kind of in a panic, " said Andrea Ho, whose family lives in the home.

Ho's 72-year-old grandfather had to be airlifted to Abington Memorial Hospital because of the fumes. She says the family has been using the grill inside the home for the past two days.

"Because there wasn't any electrical heat in the street here, they were using charcoal over there," said the woman, who lives next door.

Three other family members, including a child, were taken to the hospital by ambulance. Their ages and conditions have not been released.

Officials said the home was left without power and heat after Wednesday's major ice storm. The power came back on just before emergency crews arrived to the home, leading fire crews to initially think the family was using the grill to cook.

Horsham was one of the hardest hit towns by this week's major ice storm. More than 107,000 power customers in Montgomery County are still without power. The county, along with several others, was declared a disaster area on Thursday by President Barack Obama.

Temperatures hovered in the low 30s throughout the day on Thursday turning the interior of any home without heat frigid.

Concerned that other people may have turned to using grills to heat their homes, firefighters went door-to-door to check on residents.

Carbon monoxide poisoning has injured several people in the wake of the ice storm. About 25 people in Chester County were hospitalized after being sickened by fumes produced by grills and generators inside their homes, county officials said. Four of those people were critically hurt.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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