An average of 14 Minnesotans die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning. Arnold Schweiss, 93, of New Ulm, considers himself lucky that his family members weren't among the latest victims of the so-called silent killer.

Snow drifted over a furnace exhaust vent on the side of their house this week, possibly causing the trapped odorless, colorless, tasteless gas to flow in. Schweiss, his wife, Velma, and stepson Steve Harder were all feeling dizzy and nauseous when they awoke Tuesday, according to a story in the Mankato Free Press.

New Ulm Police Sgt. Steve Depew said the famil ymembers were fortunate they started feeling sick, avoiding a more serious tragedy. Carbon monoxide cases increase 10 percent in winter months.

All three family members were treated and released from Hennepin County Medical Center. Their home was not equipped with a carbon monoxide detector, which state law requires be placed within 10 feet of all bedrooms.