Silent Killer: Family nearly killed by carbon monoxide shares story of harrowing night

Silent Killer: Family nearly killed by carbon monoxide shares story of harrowing night

PERRYSBURG, OH (WTOL) - Last week, a family of five survived a night that could have easily taken their lives.

On January 17, Ian and Jen Killbride, along with their children, were asleep in their beds as deadly carbon monoxide leaked into their home.

"God was here," Jen said. "He was here with all of us. "

At about 4 a.m., Ian and Jen both woke up with the sound of their teenage son vomiting.

Ian went to check on his son, but never made it. It was perhaps motherly instinct that told Jen something was wrong.

"I had this overwhelming feeling that I had to get up and it was overwhelming," Jen said. "So I got out of bed and as I turned the corner, Ian was having seizure like activity."

Jen tried to help her husband in the hall, but soon passed out. When they regained consciousness, the family felt they were all hit with a bad case of the flue, not realizing what was really happening to them.

"We were going to be going back to bed, and I told him, 'I'm very concerned. I don't know what happened if you had a seizure or stroke or something," Jen remembered. "And just then our daughter came around the corner. And I got up to attend to her, and she passed out right there."

It was then that the family realized it was not the flu, but carbon monoxide, a tasteless, poisonous gas that can be prove fatal.

"The 911 operator, as soon as she said that, it clicked," Ian said. "The phone was down. We woke up Nick and we got by the windows."

When the Perrysburg Fire Department arrived, their meters immediately began to sound. The rescue effort was on.

"It just topped off and he told us to immediately get out," Ian said. "And we did."

For carbon monoxide to be fatal, humans have to be exposed to just 50 parts per million (ppm). Inside the Killbride house early that Wednesday morning, the carbon monoxide level was 300 to 500 ppm.

"Those levels were sky high," Ian said. "So yes, someone was watching out for us."

An investigation found the gas was pushed into their home after their furnace's heat exchanger failed. Though the family had two home inspections before moving into the home, they did not include a full inspection of the furnace.

As for the family's carbon monoxide detector, it did not sound because it expired.

Both of those factors nearly wiped out a young family, which is why they want to pass the lessons onto others.

"Make sure to test them. There are ways to test them," Ian said. "We now have about six of them throughout our house."

The Killbride offered these tips that may protect your and your family from having a similar or worse experience than they had:

  • Make sure to have carbon monoxide detectors on every floor of your home and replace them every five to 10 years. Place the detectors low to the ground.
  • Spend the money and time to get regular maintenance checks on your furnace to catch even minor problems.
  • If you move into a new home, spend the money to have the furnace check by a certified technician or inspector.

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