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Meadow Lakes man critically injured by carbon monoxide gets hyperbaric treatment in Seattle

Zaz Hollander
Zaz Hollander

WASILLA -- Joseph Hubbard, the 28-year-old Meadow Lakes man critically injured in a carbon monoxide leak Thursday, was receiving specialized hyperbaric treatment Friday at Virginia Mason Hospital & Medical Center in Seattle.

The toxic gas that filled Hubbard's home tore apart a young family as they slept.

Angela Hubbard, 24, died Thursday morning of apparent monoxide poisoning inside the house the couple shared with their 4-year-old daughter, authorities said.

Hubbard's coworkers found the girl conscious and next to her mother in a master bedroom, Mat-Su Borough emergency officials said. She is expected to recover.

Angela Hubbard was unconscious when firefighters found her, as was Joseph Hubbard, who was found in a bathroom.

The family lives in a one-story home built in 2008 on South Kyrsten Circle, part of a quiet subdivision of small, neat homes surrounded by wooded lots off the Parks Highway.

A friend described Angela Hubbard as a devout woman who handed out candy and cookies at holidays and scaled back a cleaning business because it took her away from her daughter.

"She was an open book. She spoke her mind," said 27-year-old Jenny Troseth, who lived across the street. "She was really easy to talk to because she voiced her opinion."

A relative and two of Joseph Hubbard's coworkers, all exposed to carbon monoxide after they tried to rescue the family, were released from Mat-Su Regional Medical Center Thursday, officials said.

The relative called 911 just after 9 a.m. after finding both adults unconscious inside. The coworkers managed to pull out the girl before the gas overwhelmed them.

Emergency responders immediately thought of carbon monoxide poisoning when they got the call to respond to two adults in cardiac arrest at one house, West Lakes Fire Chief Bill Gamble said.

Medics started CPR on Angela Hubbard within minutes but couldn't revive her, authorities said. They did CPR on Joseph Hubbard as well.

A LifeMed Alaska helicopter flew Joseph Hubbard to Providence Alaska Medical Center in critical condition Thursday morning. By Thursday afternoon, he was en route to Virginia Mason. A hospital spokesman said he remained in Virginia Mason's critical care unit early Friday afternoon.

Virgina Mason's Center for Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is the regional referral center for hyperbaric medicine in the Northwest, according to a hospital website. Hyperbaric treatment -- the medical use of oxygen at levels higher than atmospheric pressure -- helps carbon monoxide victims get rid of the toxic gas in their blood and also helps reduce inflammation.

Meanwhile, the state fire marshal's office continues to investigate the cause of the leak.

Firefighters saw smoke alarms but no carbon monoxide detectors in the Hubbard home, said West Lakes Battalion Chief James Keel.

"They had mounts for canisters to be set for hard-wiring carbon-monoxide detectors in the future," Keel said. "They just hadn't done it yet."

Preliminary reports pointed to a faulty natural gas boiler as a possible cause of the leak. Keel on Friday said a friend of the family with heating system experience blamed an exhaust system in the utility room.

The friend said the after-market exhaust system pulled carbon monoxide from the boiler exhaust pipe back into the room instead of allowing fresh air to come in, Keel said.

Alaska statute requires carbon monoxide detectors in single-family homes with "a carbon-based fuel appliance," according to the Alaska Division of Fire and Life Safety.

Most banks and lending institutions require inspections on new homes, according to Mahlon Greene, a division spokesman. Enforcement is left up to local jurisdictions.

"Single-family dwellings are not inspected on a regular basis. We pretty much stay out of people's homes," Greene said.

The state recommends homeowners install one carbon monoxide detector for every floor of the home, preferably near sleeping areas.

For more information on carbon monoxide detectors, go to dps.alaska.gov

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


By ZAZ HOLLANDER
zhollander@adn.com