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Couple survive carbon monoxide scare

Couple is thankful to be alive

Reported By: Kerri Corrado
Written By: Marc Stempka

RICHLAND TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- A Cambria County couple survived quite the scare, and say theyre lucky to be alive, after dangerously high levels of carbon monoxide built up in their home.

Richland Township firefighters were called to Shawn and Randi Malzis home on Chrysler Avenue at about 9:30 a.m. Tuesday. The couple wasnt feeling right and they thought something might be wrong.

I felt myself loose balance out of my hand to the wall and something was wrong, Shawn said.

Everything was disoriented, Randi said. My vision was blocked in some spots, just very dizzy."

Richland firefighters said the home was filled with more than 40 times the safe limit of carbon monoxide. Firefighters said a safe limit is 30 parts per million of carbon monoxide exposure, with a normal house having five to 15 parts per million.

Randi said she remembered collapsing into a chair and managing to call 911, but couldnt see the numbers on the phone. Shawn went to find the couples dog that was downstairs.

I thought he was dead, Randi said. I thought him and the dog were lying on the floor.

Randi was able to make it outside for air, while Shawn crawled toward a door to try to escape.

By the time I reached for the doorknob to get my head out, firefighters were already here, Shawn said.

Carbon monoxide poisoning is something Randis family is sadly familiar with. Her grandmother died from being overcome by the gas years before.

The couple said they have a carbon monoxide detector in their home, but it malfunctioned. Richland firefighters said the carbon monoxide source was fumes coming from their furnace, combined with a draft from their hot water tank.

Emergency crews were able to get the couple to an area hospital, where doctors told them they had gas levels in their blood high enough to have killed them.

Your life can change in one second, Shawn said. There is not much of a medical reason why I should be sitting here today."

Firefighters were also able to save the couples dog, which was found unconscious. Crews were able to supply her with oxygen and get her to a veterinarian quickly.

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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times