SPOKANE, Wash. – Debbie and Steve Smith and their granddaughter, Lily, 4, consider themselves lucky to be alive after carbon monoxide built up in their house while they were sleeping.
The three independently experienced symptoms like dizziness, headache and a buzzing sound in their heads, but since carbon monoxide is odorless, there was no way for them to know what was happening. Still, despite being foggy-headed, Debbie decided to grab her cell phone. As she was fading, she found the strength to push down the button on her iPhone and asked Siri to call 9-1-1.
“As the feeling escalated, I would not have been able to dial the numbers on the phone,” Debbie Smith said. “I had to use Siri. I knew where the button was to push and ask it to call 9-1-1.”
For Steve, who had a doctor’s appointment scheduled the following morning for his sinuses, it was difficult to connect the dots on what was happening to all of them.
“By the time you become aware, or you might become aware, your mind isn’t doing what it should be doing,” Steve Smith said.
Lily woke the couple up several times in the night, complaining of bad dreams. Steve and Debbie are now very thankful she woke them up, fearful if she had not, they would’ve slept to their deaths.
“We were not headed to a good spot,” Debbie said. “I think that we wouldn’t be here talking about it without our granddaughter waking us up.”
Responders measured the carbon monoxide in the home, which should not exceed 30. The Smiths say the readings in their home Tuesday morning were 760.
Steve said he was compelled to purchase a carbon monoxide detector last month after seeing the story of a family in Idaho who died of carbon monoxide poisoning. He admits, though, he had not installed it yet. But he hopes by his transparency and by his family sharing his story, people will realize how important it is.
“It doesn’t have to happen,” Steve said.