San Diego, CA – SAN DIEGO — Larry and Nadine Tortuya suffered mysterious symptoms early this month, but things went from bad to nearly tragic last Monday after a cold night forced them to crank up their gas heater.

“I couldn’t move my arms. They were heavy,” Nadine Tortuya said.

The Tortuyas woke up weak and nauseous.

“I got out of bed and then fell back over,” Larry Tortuya said.

When Larry collapsed, Nadine decided to call 911 — a decision that saved their lives.

Their lungs were filled with carbon monoxide.

“They said if it had been minutes later, I would have been dead,” Nadine Tortuya said.

In the case of the Tortuyas, two problems contributed to the carbon monoxide poisoning — a piece of wood blocked a vent and a loose cover allowed carbon monoxide to escape from the heater.

Experts said a maintenance check could save a homeowner’s life.

“If you’re getting a long, lazy, yellow flame, you’re creating carbon monoxide,” said Ed van Herik, a spokesman for San Diego Gas & Electric.

From prevention to detection, two carbon monoxide detectors are better than one. If you do have one, keep it in the bedroom.

“So many people don’t live to tell about it. I just thank God we’re alive and can tell people about it,” Nadine Tortuya said.