FL – By Deborah Ball, Sun – Elizabeth Bybee said she and her three children narrowly escaped death.

Bybee, 25, and her children, Eva, 3, Kaya, 1 and Noni, 5 months, were vomiting and suffering from bad headaches on Sunday, but Bybee thought it was the flu.

What Bybee didn’t know is that carbon monoxide from a leak in her furnace was slowly poisoning her family, according to Gainesville Fire Rescue.

A friend from church came to visit the family Sunday at their home at 1236 NW 30th Ave. and left a few hours later feeling sick, Bybee said. That friend talked to another friend, Michelle Loosli. She knew something wasn’t right and paid the family a visit that ended up saving their lives, Bybee said.

“Michelle went through nursing school, so she knew it wasn’t the flu,” Bybee said Monday. “When the doctor checked our blood levels, he was shocked because the carbon monoxide levels were really high. He told us that we were really lucky.”

Bybee said that after Loosli got everyone outside, Loosli went to GFR Station 5 a few doors down at about 2:30 p.m. to get help.

The readings from the carbon monoxide, or CO, monitor read as high as 277 parts per million inside the home, GFR said.

The Occupational Health and Safety Association reports that CO levels of 35 parts per million are acceptable in the home. Death or irreversible damage can occur with CO levels of 2,000 parts per million.

Loosli drove Bybee and her children to Shands at the University of Florida, where they were treated with oxygen for about three hours, Bybee said.

The family did not have a carbon monoxide detector. GFR spokeswoman Krista Ott said having a CO detector, especially in the winter season, is important.