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Family survives lethal gas that filled house while they slept

By Shonna Riggs -   Dec 07, 2006

An unsuspecting family in Luling are lucky to be alive after their hot water heater malfunctioned, filling their home with lethal carbon monoxide gas that sent them to the hospital - but could have killed them.

“We almost had a tragedy - that’s for sure,” Hahnville Fire Chief Reginald Gaubert told the Herald-Guide.

“The family’s carbon monoxide sensor sounded an alarm at three in the morning, but they shrugged it off and went back to sleep.

“The alarm sounded again four hours later, at seven in the morning. This time, they called the fire department.”

By the time firefighters arrived at the home, the family showed classic signs of carbon monoxide poisoning. Symptoms included dizziness, headache, fatigue, lethargy and irregular heartbeat.

The situation was so advanced that sensors showed the exterior of the house to be engulfed by the odorless, colorless, invisible gas.

There was so much carbon monoxide inside that the sensors “buried their needles” with the highest possible reading.

A water heater was the source of the carbon monoxide, Gaubert says.

“The gas was coming from an open vent on the top of the water heater,” continues the fire chief“

“Anything with an open flame is a possible source of a carbon monoxide, including a fireplace.

“People need to be aware of this. And if they have carbon monoxide alarms, they should take them seriously.

“This gas truly is a silent killer.”

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