Allegan, MI – Firefighters say a family in Allegan is lucky to be alive after being poisoned by carbon monoxide.

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that can cause sudden illness and death, and people who are sleeping can die from it before ever experiencing symptoms.

Newschannel 3 talked to the family after they got back from being treated at the hospital.

“My head just hurt. I had to hold the back of my head,” said James Campbell.

Campbell tells us he and his 12-year-old daughter Allison woke up this morning and felt something was seriously wrong.

“I felt really, really dizzy, but I just kept holding on to things that were close to me so I didn’t fall,” said Allison Campbell.

“I’m just out of it, stumbling around bumping into stuff, and then I went outside, was going to go deer hunting and I fell to the ground Indian style and just sat there for a minute,” said Campbell.

Moments later Campbell says he couldn’t stop vomiting.

That’s when his brother drove him to the emergency room where he says doctors discovered he had a high level of carbon monoxide poisoning.

“They put an IV in me and some oxygen to push it out, and they took a reading before and after, and the digital reading read 18,” said Campbell.

Fire crews were called in to evacuate everyone in Campbell’s house, and they took a carbon monoxide reading six times the acceptable level.

“They are extremely lucky to be alive,” said Lt. Brian Cronk with the Gobles Pine Grove Fire Department.

Campbell says he’s had his generator going nonstop since the power went out two days ago.

It was placed under his home in a crawl space.

And he was burning fire starters which also contain carbon monoxide.

Needless to say, he tells us he’s learned his lesson.

“You don’t put it underneath your home, you put it outside somewhere,” said Campbell.

According to the CDC, each year, more than 400 Americans die from carbon monoxide poisoning, and more than 20,000 will go to the emergency room.

Here are some tips from the American Red Cross on how to use a generator safely.

Never use a portable generator indoors.

Be sure to turn the generator off and let it cool down before refueling.

Never try to power the house wiring by plugging the generator into a wall outlet; it’s extremely dangerous because you could be electrocuted.

And plug appliances directly into the generator or, use a heavy duty, outdoor-rated extension cord.