CO alarms save 2 Boynton Beach families - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

CO alarms save 2 Boynton Beach families

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. - Two families in Boynton Beach are counting their blessings this holiday season after both were saved by carbon monoxide detectors. The devices cost less than $20; however, the investment turned out to be priceless.

Sam Okun and Arlene Schwartz of Boynton Beach heard a shrill beeping noise in the middle of the night on November 10 th. Their six and a half  year old grandson, Hunter, who was visiting them,  was asleep and the couple was getting ready to turn in when their carbon monoxide detectors went off.

"I think that they saved our lives," said Okun. "We're sure of it. Absolutely sure of it,  that they saved our lives."

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas produced motor vehicles, gas-powered furnaces, and portable generators. According to the Centers for Disease Control, unintentional exposure kills about 500 people and sends about 15,000 others to emergency rooms in the United States each year.

Sam and Arlene had one carbon monoxide alarm in their home, but they bought a second one after Arlene's friend died from carbon monoxide poisoning seven years ago.

"It's a wakeup call," she explained. "You're playing cards with a woman until 11 o'clock at night and in the morning, she and her husband are both dead."

They never thought it could happen in their own home. It turns out, the family car's push button ignition was still on hours after they got home, filling the garage and the house with carbon monoxide. All three were taken to a local hospital to be treated. Fortunately, all are doing fine.

"Afterwards you think, thank God," said Schwartz. "How lucky can you be? If we didn't have that alarm, I wouldn't be here talking to you."

The Jacobs wouldn't be here, either. Thanksgiving morning, their carbon monoxide detector went off.

"I opened up the garage door and the heat just hit me in the face," said Sheilah Jacobs. "Of course, the doors were closed there. I inhaled deeply, but I couldn't smell anything but I thought something was going to explode because the heat was unbelievable."

Sheilah Jacobs' car was inside the garage and still running; however, without the carbon monoxide detector they might not have known until it was too late.

"Had they slept throughout the night and woke up at 7 or 8 in the morning the next day, I don't think we would have had the same outcome that we had," said Palm Beach County Fire Rescue Captain Doug McGlynn. "It saved their life. Hands down."

Days after the incident, Irwin Jacobs is still having headaches; however, today as he and his wife celebrate their 29 th anniversary, he said they have a lot to be thankful for.

"We're here and that's the most important thing," he said.

Palm Beach County Fire Rescue advises residents to check their carbon monoxide and smoke detectors regularly and replace them every few years according to the manufacturer's instructions.

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