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Brighton family barely survives carbon monoxide poisoning, warns others to buy detectors

“They said if we have waited about 15 or 20 more minutes we wouldn’t have made it.”
Posted at 6:19 PM, Sep 26, 2023

BRIGHTON, Mich. (WXYZ) — The Tardif family says they're thankful to be alive after carbon monoxide overtook their home at fatal levels and sent them all to the hospital.

The Livingston County 911 dispatcher relayed this message to first responders, “Caller said her entire family is having headaches and vomiting. She’s not able to stand. She had to crawl to the phone.”

Erin Tardif made the 911 while she was weak and in distress.

“I just knew I had to someone call 911. So, I actually used our Alexa in the bedroom to call, and then was able to grab a phone off the bed by crawling over to it," she recalled.

Unbeknownst to her and her family at the time, they were being poisoned by carbon monoxide and it was coming from their pool’s heater.

She said earlier in the day, her boys had unexplained headaches.

By the evening, the carbon monoxide levels started to overtake them all.

“It really takes you by surprise, and you don’t know what’s going to happen because you can’t feel your legs and stuff like that. It was very scary," Tardif explained.

"Five people and five animals (were in the home). We had two dogs and three cats. Everybody made it out. Thankfully, but my middle son ended up having a seizure and it was very scary," she said.

Tardif recalled, “They said if we had waited about 15 or 20 more minutes we wouldn’t have made it.”

Her 911 call and the quick action of first responders, like those from the Brighton Area Fire Department and Livingston County 911 Central Dispatch, made the difference.

Chief Michael O'Brian told 7 Action News, “When our crews got there, they found extremely high levels of CO. They were over about 600 parts per million - which is fatal in about an hour and a half.”

He said the 911 call had the tell-tale signs of carbon monoxide poisoning. So, his crews were prepared for what they could be walking into before pulling the Tardif family to safety and back from the brink of death.

Tardif said she thought her family had carbon monoxide detectors, but they did not.

The chief said everyone needs to make the investment in a carbon monoxide detector to fight the silent killer.

O'Brian said, “We would say put one by in the basement near your heating equipment. We would say put one where you sleep if you’ve got extra (bedrooms), in my house, there’s one by every bedroom.”

Tardif said, “Plug ‘em in and let them be annoying, and plug in your fire detectors too.”