Rio Rico, AZ – By Sarah Wright, Nogales International – The 911 emergency system and quick response by a dispatcher and two deputies of the Santa Curz County Sheriff’s office was credited for the rescue five Rio Rico family members.
When officers arrived at the home, a woman who managed to dial 911 before passing out, was still cradling the telephone in her hand, said Sheriff Antonio Estrada.
The three adults and two children had fallen asleep around 10 p.m. on Nov. 17, after having the fireplace on, and didn’t realize that the chimney flute was half closed.
Geovanna Gramb, 33, woke up in the early morning hours on Nov. 11, with a sore throat and an upset stomach. Estrada said Gramb thought she was having an anxiety attack.
She tried to wake her sister Nora Parra, 31, but she was unresponsive. Gramb then called 911. That is the last thing she remembers up to the time two sheriff’s office deputies arrived on the scene.
Estrada said Alma Parra, a dispatcher, received the 911 call at 2:11 a.m.
She heard a faint female voice, and it sounded like the woman was crying. It was Gramb.
Parra didn’t know if someone was playing a prank or if it was a real emergency, Estrada said.
She kept the line open and tried to detect as much information as she could so she could inform the deputies who were dispatched to the scene.
Deputies Oscar Peña and Fernando Ayon were the first to arrive.
Estrada said the officers began knocking on the door and ringing the doorbell, but there was no response. Parra still had the phone line open.
The officers walked around the house and saw Gramb lying unconscious on the floor. “They detected that something was terribly wrong, so they broke into the house,” Estrada said.
Gramb was still clinging to the phone.
The officers didn’t detect the carbon monoxide right away, Estrada said, because the family had been burning Juniper wood in the fireplace. He said Juniper gives off a “pleasant aroma.”
When they first arrived they thought they had encountered a crime scene because Gramb was lying on the floor. They discovered the problem when Ayon began to feel sick, and stepped outside.
Peña and Ayon found that all five persons in the house were unresponsive, so they began opening doors and windows.
Geovanna and Nora Parra were in the living room. Gramb’s husband Mario Gramb, 40, was in his bedroom and the couple’s son Estevan,8, and daughter Andrea, 11, were in their bedrooms.
Estrada said the family members then began to be responsive almost “as soon as the windows and doors were open.”
The Rio Rico Fire District was contacted and they arrived at the scene about 10 minutes later.
Two individuals were taken to the hospital for observation.
Estrada said it didn’t appear that there were any smoke detectors or carbon monoxide detectors in the home.
Estrada said Gramb told him she was “immensely grateful” that all of her family members were rescued.
He said she doesn’t know how she was able to wake up and dial 911.
“This is a message to everyone to get the alarms to prevent something like this from happening in the future,” Estrada said.
Estrada recognized Parra, Ayon, and Peña at the County Board of Supervisor’s meeting Tuesday mornin
The positive outcome was “the result of modern technology, persistence, commitment of these people that made this turn out to be a very fortunate event.
“It could have ended up being a very tragic end-of-the-year for that family,” he said.
Estrada said “the cold season is upon us. Get your fire extinguishers; get your smoke detectors; get your carbon monoxide detectors; Be prepared.”
In the wake of a near tragedy involving carbon monoxide poisoning that nearly took the lives of five family members in Rio Rico, Sheriff Antonio Estrada is urging area residents to install detectors in their homes.
“The cold season is upon us,” he said. “Get your fire extinguishers, get your smoke detectors, get your carbon monoxide detectors; Be prepared.”