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King County Executive
Dow Constantine

EVENING UPDATE: First case of carbon monoxide poisoning reported and DDES offers free damage inspections


As King County continues to coordinate agency response to the unrelenting winter storm that struck the region this week, the County urges residents to use caution while traveling and find safe ways to stay warm and safe during power outages.


As King County continues to coordinate agency response to the unrelenting winter storm that struck the region this week, the County urges residents to use caution while traveling and find safe ways to stay warm and safe during power outages.

Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning

Earlier today, a family of three (two adults in their 50s and a child) in south King County became sick from carbon monoxide poisoning, and one was admitted to the hospital. The cause appears to be a fireplace that was not properly vented. These are the first reported cases of carbon monoxide poisoning in King County during the adverse weather and power outages.

Carbon monoxide poisoning can kill. Carbon monoxide gas comes from burning fuels such as gasoline, propane, oil, kerosene, natural gas, coal or wood.

Prevent poisoning from carbon monoxide:

  • Only use a generator outdoors and far from open windows and vents
  • Never use a generator or portable propane heater indoors, in garages or carports
  • Never cook or heat inside on a charcoal or gas grill.

Carbon monoxide poisoning can happen suddenly and without warning. Physical symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning may include splitting headache, nausea and vomiting, and lethargy and fatigue.

If you believe you could be experiencing carbon monoxide poisoning, get fresh air immediately. Call for medical help from a neighbor's home. The Fire Department will tell you when it is safe to reenter the home.

For a full list of carbon monoxide prevention tips and other safety and disaster information in English and other languages, visit If you have questions about carbon monoxide poisoning, please contact the Washington Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222.

Staying warm indoors safely

Currently, there are 130,000 households without power in King County. Puget Sound Energy has 40 crews on the job right now and 16 more on their way to King County. The utility hopes to have 200+ crews available to address local power outages in King, Pierce and Thurston counties.

King County Library system facilities are open to the general public during the day as warming shelters. Locations and hours of operation can be found at: A list of other shelters, including regional dormitory and evening homeless shelters are provided at

If you have a power outage, use safe ways to stay warm:

· Find places where you can go to get warm, such as the home of friends and family whose homes have power. Many cities have opened centers where people can go during the day to stay warm. Center locations can be found at

· Wear several layers of light weight, warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing. Wear hats, mittens, and blankets indoors.

· Close curtains and cover windows and doors with blankets. Everyone should try to stay together in one room, with the door closed, to keep in body heat.

King County giving free snow and ice storm damage inspections in unincorporated areas

Residents in unincorporated King County whose homes were damaged during this week’s snow and ice storms are offered free building inspections from King County’s Department of Development and Environmental Services (DDES). DDES has waived the associated fee to help residents speed up repair to their property. Also, priority service will be given for damaged structures requiring permits for repair work.

This will help residents get repairs started more quickly and speedup the permitting process. It also helps protect residents from potential harm if DDES finds buildings that are unsafe to be in.

“Our goals are to ensure that unsafe buildings are identified promptly and allow homeowners and businesses to begin repairs as soon as possible,” said DDES Director John Starbard.

Inspectors will evaluate the integrity of structures, assess if a structure is safe to occupy and whether a permit is required for repair work. Inspection staff may also advise customers of the need to pursue a more detailed inspection from a licensed structural engineer to determine the full extent of the damage. While storm damage inspections are free, standard permit fees still apply.

The King County Department of Development and Environmental Services also reminds the public that permits may be required before performing certain non-building related repairs, such as hazard tree removal if trees are in environmentally critical areas. Permits can be issued retroactively if a tree poses imminent danger to persons or property.

To request a damage assessment inspection during business hours, please call 206-296-6630. DDES operates Monday - Friday, 7 a.m. until 4 p.m.

For minor repairs, permits can be issued over the counter at the Department of Development and Environmental Services offices in Renton (900 Oakesdale Avenue S.W., driving directions online at In the event of major damage, the permit review will be expedited.

Please note: The Department of Development and Environmental Services has jurisdiction only in King County's unincorporated area. For damage within a city limit, contact that city for assistance.

For additional information, please contact Bernard Moore, DDES Building Inspection supervisor, at 206-296-6762, or; or Chris Ricketts, DDES Building Services, Building Official, at 206-296-6750, or

Disposing of storm debris

Due to the winter storm, residents may need to remove fallen trees and branches, as well as debris from damaged buildings. Residents and businesses are encouraged to recycle construction, demolition and land clearing debris. To see a complete list of recycling options and links to resources, visit

Small amounts of construction, demolition and land clearing debris are accepted at King County solid waste transfer stations. Customers using dump trucks, flat beds that dump, or roll-off boxes may not dispose of construction, demolition and land clearing debris at King County transfer stations unless it is less than 10 percent of the total volume of the load. (Note: Dump trucks, flat beds and roll-offs with construction, demolition and land clearing debris are accepted at the Vashon transfer station.)

The following restrictions also apply:
- No items greater than eight feet long.
- No hazardous or dangerous waste.
- Dense items that are bigger than 2 feet x 2 feet x 2 feet and weigh more than 200 pounds are not accepted. Examples include big pieces of concrete, large stumps, wood stoves and cast iron bathtubs.
- The maximum combined vehicle and trailer length limits are: 30 feet at Algona, Cedar Falls, Factoria, Houghton, Renton and Vashon and 40 feet at Bow Lake, Enumclaw and Shoreline.

View King County's complete waste acceptance rule.

Improving road conditions should bring changing status
for Metro bus routes this weekend

While King County Metro Transit bus routes remain on snow routing through the end of Friday, the agency hopes to begin returning to normal operations over the weekend.

People riding the bus Saturday and Sunday should check the Metro website before traveling, and do not expect all routes to return to regular service at the same time. Some parts of the county are still dealing with slushy and tree-covered roads, and snow routes or detours for the buses may be necessary for a few days in those areas.

It continues to be very important for Metro customers to watch for updated information online or through Transit Alerts.

Metro uses an online color-coded map to keep riders informed of the status of its bus service during storms. All bus routes are assigned into one or more of seven geographic areas within King County. When there is snow or ice on the roads, the service status of each area will be color coded and displayed on the online map.

Green indicates buses are operating on normal routes; yellow that some – but not all – routes in the area are on snow routes; and red tells you that all bus routes in the entire geographic area are on snow routing.

People can also call the Customer Information Office at (206) 553-3000 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Due to the volume of calls, there may be longer-than-normal waits on the phone.

Once again, Metro would like to thank its customer for their patience in dealing with service disruptions and delays caused by this week’s series of storms.



King County Executive
Dow Constantine
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