Parkersburg, West VA – By ROGER ADKINS, News and Sentinel.com
PARKERSBURG – A silent killer swept through the Buckeye Street home of Eugene and Evelyn Diclemente and nearly sent the couple into the next world.
Eugene, 75, came home from getting a haircut to find his wife nearly dressed to go to work but terribly sick and nearly unconscious. The last thing Evelyn, 67, remembers is telling her husband she thought she was having a heart attack. Then Eugene got sick.
They never realized they were slowly succumbing to carbon monoxide poisioning. The deadly gas was filling their home because of a malfunction in the water heater.
The couple struggled to stay awake. Eugene managed to call the couple’s daughter Lynn Alleman for help. They stayed inside the house and never once realized doing so could have meant their demise.
“I was trying to get her up but I couldn’t,” Eugene said. “I was numb and couldn’t do anything. It’s almost like your mind goes blank. It doesn’t register that there is anything going on.”
When Alleman picked up the phone, Eugene was on the line. He said something was wrong. He said he and Evelyn didn’t feel right.Alleman could tell something was indeed amiss. Eugene didn’t sound right.
She and her husband, Glen, rushed from her home in Murphytown toward south Parkersburg. They arrived just in time. Glen found the couple in the home. Eugene was struggling to stay awake. Evelyn had already lost that battle and was passed out on the bathroom floor.
Glen was not able to help the Diclementes because he became sick within a couple of seconds of being inside the home.Lynn said she ran to a neighbor’s house to call 911.
Looking back, Lynn said she now realizes one more red stoplight on the way to south Parkersburg could have cost her parents their lives.”Everything just played out right down to the minute. It was just supposed to be a close call, I think,” Lynn said.
The couple was first sent to a local hospital and then transferred to St. Francis Hospital in Charleston where they were treated in a hyperbaric chamber.
The ordeal taught the couple a valuable lesson. As soon as they were well enough, they purchased several carbon monoxide monitors.
Lt. Melvin Turner, Parkersburg fire department, said it is vital area residents know the value of carbon monoxide detectors. The lethal gas is odorless and can kill a person quickly if the concentration is high enough in a closed space. The Diclementes also urge everyone to have detectors in their homes.
The Diclementes put up several monitors in their home and gave several away to friends.”We didn’t realize we were being gassed,” Eugene said.It’s a mistake the couple will not make a second time, Evelyn said.
“We got the monitors for the kids and family because we don’t want them to go through what we went through,” she said. “I guess the good Lord just wasn’t ready for us.”