Minot family hopes close call with carbon monoxide can save others

Published: Jan. 12, 2022 at 4:31 PM CST
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MINOT, N.D. – A Minot family had a close call with carbon monoxide and is now warning others about the risk.

The gas, also known as the silent killer, takes the life of more than 450 people each year in the U.S. and sends close to 50,000 to the E.R. Cases increase during the winter largely due to snow piling up against homes, blocking furnaces and other exhaust vents, causing the gas to build up inside.

Luckily, the family managed to get out in time and now wants to share their story.

The sound of beeping likely saved the lives of Mattie Marlette and her family.

“The first thing that went through my mind when it happened was get my daughter out,” said Mattie Marlette, a Minot resident.

Mattie said her seven-year-old daughter Mekah woke her up Sunday morning saying that alarms were going off.

“She came into my bedroom freaking out saying that our smoke alarms were talking, so I got up, came out to the area here and I heard carbon monoxide detected,” said Mattie.

Mekah said the beeping from a detector right outside of her bedroom woke her up.

“When I heard the carbon monoxide detectors go off, I was actually dreaming during that time and I woke up really scared,” said Mekah.

With Mattie’s quick thinking, she got her family outside to a safe place and called for help.

“Within 10 minutes, the Minot Fire Department was here. They were coming in. They found elevated levels of carbon monoxide. It was higher in our basement than it was up here,” said Mattie.

The cause? A pile of snow, blocking their furnace exhaust pipe on the side of their home.

“You can see where it kind of came up and over the air conditioner, and it was just all the way across,” said Mattie.

Minot Fire has a hazmat crew dedicated to responding to these types of calls and they say they don’t just happen in the winter.

“Your hot water heater in the summertime, if you are washing clothes, can produce carbon monoxide in the home and we’ve had calls for that,” said James Doctor, a senior firefighter with the Minot Fire Department.

The crew is equipped with an oxygen mask and a gas reader to help identify the levels inside a home.

The department aired out the home and cleared their exhaust pipe and the Marlette’s were able to go back inside.

“It was like really, really, really exciting when we got to be able to go back inside the house,” said Mekah.

After the close call, Mattie said she wants others to know just how important detectors are.

“I am a firm believer that carbon monoxide detectors in every house are a necessity because they truly will save your life,” said Mattie.

The Marlette’s hope their story will save others.

Mattie thanks the fire department for their help.

Minot Fire recommends checking your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors once a month and replace batteries often.

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