A working detector and a Milwaukie mom are credited for preventing a near tragedy caused by carbon monoxide.
The family had lit their wood stove for the first time this season, and within a couple of hours Elizabeth Brown and her children began feeling sick.
"I started feeling light headed, so I went and laid back down in my room and started getting a headache," said Brown. Shortly after that, an alarm started going off, and she quickly realized it was the carbon monoxide detector behind her dresser.
Brown read the instructions on the back, told her brother and three kids to get outside to fresh air and called 911.
"My motherly instinct was to get the kids out of the house," said Brown.
Firefighters say a ventilation problem with the wood stove caused the toxic gas to collect inside the house on Southeast Stanley Place. A spokesman says levels of carbon monoxide in the home reached more than three times the safe limit.
"It's tasteless, it's colorless, but it's extremely toxic," said the Clackamas fire public information officer, Brandon Paxton. "You don't know it's sneaking up on you, and by the time you experience symptoms, it's too late."
Firefighters say the working detector helped save lives in the Brown family's case. Despite the exposure, everyone is safe and OK.
"If it (alarm) didn't go off, I'd probably still be in here with my kids, probably dead or having a lot more sickness," said Brown. "I'm just grateful it was there to let us know."
Firefighters say now is the time to check your heating sources and CO detectors, as temperatures cool. Clackamas County fire put out safety information below:
Always remember to install working carbon monoxide alarms.
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