Meadow Lakes woman dead, husband critically injured in apparent carbon monoxide leak

zhollander@adn.comNovember 7, 2013 

WASILLA -- A suspected carbon monoxide leak killed a Meadow Lakes woman Thursday morning and left her husband in critical condition but spared their young daughter inside the house with them.

An older female relative called 911 a few minutes past 9 a.m. after finding 24-year-old Angela Hubbard and 28-year-old Joseph Hubbard unconscious inside their home at the end of a woodsy cul-de-sac near Johnson Road, authorities said.

Medics tried to revive Angela Hubbard with CPR but couldn't, Alaska State Troopers said. They pronounced her dead outside the home.

Joseph Hubbard was airlifted by LifeMed Alaska to Providence Alaska Medical Center in critical condition after medics performed CPR on him, troopers said. He was transported to Seattle for further treatment Thursday evening.

Two of the Hubbards' co-workers got to the house before emergency responders did and brought out the little girl, West Lakes Battalion Chief James Keel said.

She was found with her mother in a master bedroom, though it was unclear whether the girl had spent the night in that room.

The 4-year-old was conscious when she came out of the house. Extremely high levels of carbon monoxide overwhelmed the men when they went back inside for Angela and Joseph Hubbard, said Keel, the first firefighter to arrive at the home together with medics.

"We had very high levels of CO, we're talking 200 parts per million in the living room and climbing," he said. "We backed everyone out of the house."

Firefighters put on breathing apparatus -- something they do at monoxide levels higher than 25 parts per million -- and brought out the Hubbards.

The child was taken to Mat-Su Regional Medical Center because of elevated levels of the toxic gas in her bloodstream, West Lakes Fire Chief Bill Gamble said. The relative went with her.

The two men who tried to help also went to the hospital, borough officials said. They had been released by early Thursday afternoon.

The Hubbard home is located in a relatively new subdivision of neat single-family homes on South Krysten Circle. A family member came to get two dogs there on Thursday. A neighbor described the couple as quiet and sweet.

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas found in combustion fumes. It's nearly impossible to detect physically before it reaches dangerous levels.

The State Fire Marshal's Office and the State Medical Examiner are investigating.

The preliminary source of the carbon monoxide leak appeared to be a faulty natural gas boiler, part of an in-floor heating system, Gamble said. The fire marshal will make the final determination on the source, he said.

Responders found Angela Hubbard in the master bedroom and Joseph Hubbard in a bathroom, emergency officials said.

It's possible the little girl spent the night in her own room before going into the master bedroom, Keel said.

"She wasn't nowhere near the other patients' condition," he said.

Vents from the utility room fed into the master bedroom and bathroom, Gamble said.

Carbon monoxide levels in the utility room where the boiler was located measured more than 1,000 parts per million, he said. Levels just inside the front door were 100 parts per million.

Carbon monoxide poisoning occurs when the toxic gas replaces oxygen in the bloodstream, which can damage tissue and result in death, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

The most common symptoms of poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain and confusion.

Authorities urge homeowners and tenants to get gas- or oil-burning boilers and furnaces professionally serviced regularly and also to make sure they have working carbon monoxide detectors.

Reach Zaz Hollander at zhollander@adn.com or 257-4317.

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