AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – A mother in Aurora is being hailed a hero after her quick thinking saved her entire family from carbon monoxide poisoning on New Year’s Day. The family had returned from out of town trips on Dec. 30, 2018.
All four went to a New Year’s Eve party and were in bed by 11:00 p.m. The next day, they nearly died.
“It’s been a weird thing to sort through,” said Paul Schreder.
For a dozen years, his house in the Tallyn’s Reach area of Aurora has been a safe haven for the Vigil-Schreder family. That all changed on Jan. 1.
“We all woke up feeling pretty foggy,” said Paul.
Fourteen-year-old Will had a pounding headache.
“I never experienced such pain in my head before,” Will told CBS4 Health Specialist Kathy Walsh.
His mother, Faith Vigil, was nauseous.
“Our first instinct, really, was that maybe we had the flu,” she said.
But the symptoms were different. A text to a friend who’d had a party the night before ruled out food poisoning. Meanwhile, 11-year-old Mila was vomiting.
“My inclination was just to give the kids medicine and lay back down on the couch,” said Paul.
But not Faith.
“For whatever reason, I just decided to Google carbon monoxide and all of our symptoms just came up,” she explained.
Faith rushed everyone, including the dogs, Zeb and Jackson, out of the house. They drove minutes away to the freestanding UCHealth Emergency Room – Smoky Hill.
“Incredible, incredible! The mother saved the family,” said Dr. Patricia VanDevander, emergency medicine physician.
She was working when the family arrived and immediately put all four on 100 percent oxygen for hours. All had moderate poisoning. But if they had stayed in their house …
“It really scares me. It scares me to think that we could of, if we would have stayed like maybe an hour longer, we would have died,” said an emotional Mila.
Paul said the problem was PVC pipe that had been improperly glued.
“The PVC pipe became disconnected from the exhaust of the furnace,” he said.
Faulty venting caused the deadly gas to fill the home. There were no carbon monoxide detectors. Now, there are six.
“I feel incredibly blessed Faith had the where-with-all and the mother’s instinct to save us,” said Paul who calls his wife a hero.
“I’m grateful. Grateful for my kids, just the ability to get a second chance to make it right for them,” said Faith, blinking back tears.
Faith wants everyone to know the importance of installing working carbon monoxide detectors and testing them often. Her family will never be without them again.