White Oak EMT Dead In Tragic Carbon Monoxide Accident

EMT-in-training Casey Steenland dead from Carbon Monoxide poisoning.  Casey was described as a “rising star” on the team and will be deeply missed by her colleagues, friends, husband and four children.

Steenland and two other co-workers were waiting in an ambulance parked in a garage. They were unaware that a generator was running in the back of their vehicle.  No carbon monoxide detectors were installed anywhere in the garage, because the building itself was “all electic.”

Sadly, this meant that all Steenland and her two co-workers slipped into unconciousness without warning.  Co-workers (Jody Coke and several others) found their three distressed co-workers and tried to rescue them.  Two survived, but Steenland was pronounced dead at the hospital.

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 discovered around 7 a.m. Friday by other workers during a shift change, said Victoria Ashworth, a spokeswoman at Good Shepherd Medical Center in Longview, 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 transported 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 and released for carbon monoxide exposure, 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.

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

Because of the circumstances of this accident, Ashworth said that 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, located 115 miles east of Dallas.