Firefighters hope family’s close call reminds everyone to test carbon monoxide detectors

WESTFIELD, Ind. – Westfield firefighters are warning everyone to check or buy carbon monoxide detectors this winter after one family had a close call this week.

“Much longer and it would have been a very different story, a very different outcome,” Westfield Firefighter Nick Southerland said.

Firefighters were called to a home on the 700 block of Hampton Rd. Wednesday on reports of a family experiencing flu like symptoms.

Southerland said the mother of the family of five woke up Wednesday morning and didn’t feel well. After checking with her other family members, they were all feeling sick.

“Fortunately for them, a family member woke up early to get ready for work and started noticing the symptoms and checking with other family members and they had the same things going on...so they were able to exit the house and otherwise it could have been a very different outcome for them,” Southerland said.

When firefighters arrived, the family was all at a neighbor’s house. All five were taken to a hospital and monitored for several hours before they were released, Southerland said.

Fire investigators inspected the home and found “dangerously high levels” of carbon monoxide inside. They determined the vent pipe for the family’s gas heater was broken, leaving nowhere for the poisonous gas to escape.

“That broken pipe caused a build up there in the house,” Southerland said.

The family did not have carbon monoxide detectors.

Southerland is hoping their story inspires everyone to buy or test their carbon monoxide detectors because that is the only tool that can detect the colorless, odorless and tasteless gas.

“The reason it is so important to have these in your home is to prevent worse case scenarios like this family avoided yesterday,” he said.