Pleasantville, NJ – John Jouris probably owes his life to his recently installed carbon monoxide detector.

Jouris, 61, of Absecon, has owned Johnny D’s Pizzeria & Restaurant on North Main Street, an institution in the city, for the past 20 years, but he never installed a carbon monoxide detector until recently.

“Two months ago, Capt. (Thomas) Higgins came to do an inspection,” Jouris said. “I want you to put in a carbon monoxide detector,” Jouris was told.

At 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, Jouris was in his office in the restaurant, and the detector was going off.

“I thought something was wrong with the detector,” Jouris said.

Carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas, so he returned to his office and did a couple of things.

When Jouris left his office a second time, the carbon monoxide detector was still issuing its warning. When he looked up at it, his vision became blurry, and he started feel dizzy. He told his employees to leave the building, and he left with them.

Out in the fresh air, Jouris called 911, and the fire department and an ambulance arrived on the scene. He didn’t want to leave the restaurant to head to the hospital, so he stayed in the ambulance for an hour breathing oxygen.

“I’m pretty sure it saved my life,” Jouris said. “If it were not for Capt. Higgins, I would have been gone. I would have died at my desk.”

Jouris is on the city’s economic development committee. Three weeks ago, he was visiting seniors and stressing to them the importance of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

As a businessman, building inspectors will come in and make you do things that you think are ridiculous, but this is one time that it paid off, Jouris said.

Pleasantville Mayor Jesse Tweedle said his inspectors have been able to do increased and more thorough inspections of businesses and churches with its fire officials because the city outsourced its emergency medical services.

“I’m elated. (John at) Johnny D’s was excited to tell me this,” Tweedle said. “It’s heartwarming.”