A Close Call with a Silent Killer

Ralph Maniscalco by Ralph Maniscalco | 11.21.2016

COWhile in the back yard of my home this summer, I heard the CO alarm go off on the first floor. As I was running upstairs to check on my wife and daughter, the central station called and notified me of the alarm. They told us to leave immediately and that they would summon the Fire Department to test for CO.

To me, it was surreal, because unlike when a smoke detector goes off when you are at home, there is usually an obvious cause (burnt toast, bathroom steam or an actual fire). With CO, there is nothing obvious! And because of this I didn’t really feel there was cause to quickly react…boy that was dumb!

When the fire department got there, they found CO that started on the first floor by the gas burner and had moved up to the bedrooms on the second floor.  They opened the garage doors and all of the windows. It took over a half hour to properly vent the home. We were all tested for CO intake and thankfully everyone was okay. We later found out it was related to the flue on our gas boiler… and I had it repaired the next day.

We all hear that the CO danger in homes increases during the heating season as these systems get fired up after sitting idle for the summer months. This freak occurrence happened during the summer on one of the hottest days of the year! The fire department chief said the Honeywell CO detector worked flawlessly and was the reason no one suffered any ill effects from the rising CO levels. Sometimes we all forget why we do what we do, and this incident let me realize that helping to save lives is the best reason to keep doing it.