This is a true story about the night that carbon monoxide filled my home.
We were renovating. Forever. The carbon monoxide detector had been removed from the ceiling adjacent to the garage door. Then it was on the steps, then in a toy box, and then it made its way onto the dining room table. It had become a toy of some sorts and my kids often pressed the button to see what would happen.
Then, one night, my mother wasn’t feeling well and I decided that, even in my ninth month, I would go and sleep at her house to make sure nothing would happen to her since she was alone for the night.
Then, at 5 a.m. I got the call. I saw my husband’s number on the screen. Startled, I answered wondering what could’ve been going on. And then he told me, those words: We’re ok. But the firemen had just left. And we’re ok.
At 4 a.m., the carbon monoxide detector which was sitting on the dining room table had rung. It rang loud enough for my heavy-sleeping husband to hear it. He proceeded to wake up our three sleeping children and take them to the living room. He then called 911. They proceeded to tell him to open all the windows in the house. It was March, and it was freezing out. But they bundled up and waited for the firemen to arrive. After a couple of minutes, the firemen arrived and began testing the house for carbon monoxide. To their surprise, the level was extremely high. Like dangerously high. They advised my husband to leave the windows open and not use the heat again.
Our furnace had malfunctioned and caused a mini fire in the pipes, which were blowing in the carbon. Where were the highest levels they found? In the bedrooms. Specifically the one situated above the furnace room. My babies. In that exact room, sleeping. And what could’ve happened had the detector not rung when it did? I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I was crying knowing how different the phone call could’ve been.
Another big miracle was that a pregnant woman has lower oxygen levels then the average human being and therefore can react differently to carbon monoxide. However, my very healthy mother happened to have needed me to be with her that night. Just that night. I continued to cry and cry and cry of fear of what could’ve happened. And out of hakarat hatov I felt toward the One Above for saving my entire family.
I then promised myself from then on, that I would make sure everyone I knew had a functional carbon monoxide detector. Because if it wasn’t for that detector, my story could’ve been quite different. If you don’t have one, get one. If you do, make sure it works and it’s in the right place. And if it rings, ALWAYS call 911.