Split second

‘Make sure all your alarms are up to date, with fresh and charged batteries at all times. It could be the difference between life and death.’

PUTNEY — I woke up overwhelmed with gratitude to be alive and well with my family by my side.

The night before, I was awakened at 1:30 a.m. to my smoke/carbon monoxide alarms loudly sounding and telling us to evacuate the house immediately.

We had this happen one other time, and it was just a battery issue. But this time seemed a little different, and something was telling me to not just unplug the alarms as I did before. I decided to call 911 instead - just to be abundantly cautious.

The kids and I wrapped up in blankets and went onto the porch.

Well, thank goodness I did call.

Nine minutes later, the fire department and ambulance got there. Before the guys were even through the front door, their meters for measuring carbon monoxide were flashing red.

They looked scared, which made me scared, too.

They ran to their trucks and suited up with protective gear and gas masks.

That's when shit got real.

* * *

The furnace exhaust pipe was not put back into its place the last time someone came to look at it, so all the exhaust fumes were coming into the house.

The carbon monoxide levels in the house were at 350 parts per million (ppm). That is 300 ppm higher than what is considered unhealthy for humans.

One firefighter told me that I should be very thankful I called 911. If I had not, the kids and I would not have awakened this morning.

That thought just keeps running though my head - I'm shuddering.

The kids and I sat in the ambulance for a while and we were all tested. Elayna and I have light carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms, but we will be OK. Dominick, who was the closest to the leak, is completely fine, somehow - which I am so grateful for.

We ended up having to leave the house and couldn't go back until the heating unit was fixed and cleared for safety.

* * *

This was one of the scariest nights of my life. To think that my children and I could have been taken from this earth if I had just pulled the batteries out.

Or if I had just not woken up.

Or if something went differently for any reason.

I'm just so grateful to be alive. I'm also so grateful for the Putney Fire Department, the EMTs, the Westminster Fire Department, the 911 workers, and my Mom for taking us all in at 3 a.m.

Make sure all your alarms are up to date, with fresh and charged batteries at all times. It could be the difference between life and death.

And hug your kids tight.

You really never know what could happen in a split second.

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