Ann Arbor, MI – Blake, a sixth-grader at Ann Arbor’s Forsythe Middle School, was at the home he shares with his mother, grandmother, her 17-year-old goddaughter and that woman’s 9-month-old son when the carbon monoxide alarm sounded at 1:30 p.m. Sunday.Blake had never heard the carbon monoxide alarm before and assumed it was the fire alarm. Blake and 17-year-old Nikkie Mills went to the basement to investigate but didn’t find anything.
Blake called his grandmother, Rose Martin, who was at the grocery store, and then his mother, KellyB Martin, who was studying at a local library. They both immediately said they were on the way back to their home in the 1100 block of North Maple Road.
But before they got home, Mills – who had been doing laundry in the basement for an hour – began to feel ill. Blake ushered her out of the front door and then grabbed Mills’ son, 9-month-old Traivon Clark, and brought him outside to his mother.
Mills and Traivon have been staying at Martin’s home since their own house was damaged by fire.
Firefighters said getting everyone outside may have saved their lives.
“There are a lot of kids Blake’s age who wouldn’t have thought like that,” Rose Martin said.
Blake said it seemed like the right thing to do after seeing a “242” reading on the carbon monoxide detector. Usually, he said, it’s at zero.
“When it gets to that level, you need to be out of the house,” said Ann Arbor Fire Battalion Chief Chuck Hubbard. “When you get above 100, that’s when it is getting really serious. The reason it is so dangerous is you can’t smell it or see it. You just notice the flu-like symptoms. If you go to sleep, that could be it.”
It wasn’t until firefighters arrived that Blake began to understand how important his actions had been.
Rose Martin said that after the house was ventilated, two firefighters approached and asked to speak to the boy who got everyone out.
“Do you know you saved your family members’ lives?” the firefighters asked Blake.
They explained it was carbon monoxide gas. Blake had studied that in fifth grade.
“It made me feel good,” Blake said. “I was happy we weren’t asleep.”
Firefighters determined the carbon monoxide came from the garage, where a motorcycle had been left running for several minutes while the garage doors were open.
Blake said he is now more aware of the carbon monoxide detector.
“Now, I go downstairs about every hour to make sure it is at zero,” he said Monday. “I checked it twice before I went to bed.”