Portland, OR- The quick thinking of Rodney Gunther likely saved the lives of this wife and daughter.
Gunther called 911 early this morning after they began suffering unknowingly from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Portland firefighters say they found the father, mother and child suffering from acute signs of carbon monoxide poisoning when they arrived at the Sellwood home near 15th Avenue and Lambert Street just before 6 a.m.
“We are doing much better than we were this morning,” Gunther said from his hospital bed.
Firefighters say they found Gunther’s wife and child lying on the landing at the bottom of the homes stairs, while the father was in a confused and agitated state. He told firefighters he wasnt feeling well.
“We didnt know the problem,” Gunther says.
Those clues tipped off firefighters that something was going on in the home. They tested the air with gas detectors and found carbon monoxide levels at 400 ppm, which means the family likely had less than one hour to survive.
Firefighters turned off all the gas appliances and opened all the windows and doors. The family was taken to the hospital to be treated.
Dr. Tom Martin with Providence Medical Center says the family is very lucky to be alive. He ordered the family into hyperbaric chambers as treatment.
“It really just floods the body with oxygen and more rapidly forces the carbon monoxide out,” Martin says.
It turns out the family had returned from vacation at midnight. Needing to warm their home, they turned on their gas furnace and a supplemental freestanding gas appliance connected to the fireplace.
“Between 35 ppm and 100 ppm, a person will experience flu-like symptoms after an hour of exposure to carbon monoxide,” says Paul Corah, a Portland fire spokesman. “Because of the father’s quick actions, his family is alive today.
Firefighters say homeowners should make sure their furnace and heating equipment is properly maintained. Carbon monoxide is odorless and tasteless, so officials say its critical to install a carbon monoxide alarm in homes.