Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue credits a man’s combination fire alarm-carbon monoxide detector with saving his neighbor’s life.
When David Masters’ detector started beeping just after midnight on Friday, he noticed the smell of gasoline.
He walked outside of his townhome — part of a quad-plex in the Harbor Vista development on Southeast 15th Street — and heard a car engine running from within his neighbor’s garage. He then called 911.
Fire crews and a hazardous materials team found a man unconscious inside the neighbor’s townhome. The man was treated at Broward Health and released later that day.
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A man who answered the door at the victim’s house said the victim had been driving a car that was unfamiliar to him and that starts without a key. He apparently thought he’d turned the car off — but he hadn’t.
Deputy Fire Chief Timothy C. Heiser said that if the carbon monoxide detector hadn’t alerted Masters, he and his two roommates could also have fallen victim to the colorless and odorless gas that robs the body of its oxygen.
“I don’t know how long it would have taken to hit us,” Masters said.
The gas, which was produced by the vehicle running in an enclosed space, also can be produced from charcoal grills, portable generators and any other wood- or gas-fueled appliances.
Earlier this month, a Wilton Manors family suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning, also after leaving their car running in a garage. The father of the family was found dead at their home. His wife and daughter were unconscious.
“We stress everyone get a carbon monoxide detector for their home,” Heiser said. “We have seen too many of these happening lately.”
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