A Scary Situation

See, I knew I wouldn't be able to just relax and do nothing this weekend! Last night Kevin and I were so exhausted we went to bed around 9:30. (I know, we're so boring.) We had a fire burning in the wood stove and hadn't put any wood on it since 7ish. We always push in the flue or damper thingy (I am so technical and knowledgeable about wood stoves, it's scary!) and let it burn out overnight. Usually, there isn't a problem. Except last night...

I went to the bathroom around 2 am, and fell right back to sleep. Next thing I know, Kevin's poking me saying "that thing is going off". I hear some beeping from downstairs. I'm still pretty much asleep and said "so go check it". He went downstairs and found it was the carbon monoxide detector going off. Sometimes it goes off because it needs a new battery. But, this kept going off, exactly how the label said it would if we needed to get out of the house. So, he opens some windows. I bring the detector upstairs in the kitchen. It takes a minute then begins to go off up there also. We bring it up to the bedrooms, it takes a couple minutes and then starts going off up there. At this time we realize this is for real and we need to get out and call the fire department.

He opens up windows, we throw clothes on while he calls 911. I lock the cats in the bathroom with the window wide open, even though it is only about 3 degrees out. I gather up Kian in his blankets, and bring him to the porch. The porch was an addition and has no vents to the house, so we all go out there, close the doors and open windows out there. We run back in grabbing coats and hats and a diaper bag. Luckily, the fire chief lives, literally, around the block, behind our house. He was there in about 2-3 minutes from our call. He and Kevin went in opening all the windows. His crew arrived a couple minutes later with their meters. They definitely found lots of CO. The dangerous level that the alarm will go off at is 35. The kitchen was 37, and the family room (where the alarm is) was over 100!! And this was after windows had been opened for a several minutes! We also noticed the wood stove had an odd smell, not the typical wood burning smell.

The firemen emptied out the woodstove and opened all the flues and dampers to outside. The RG&E guy came to check out the water heater and furnace. No CO was coming from the water heater or furnace, which was a good thing. The highest numbers were from the wood stove. By this time it was about 4:30 am, over an hour after we had been alerted by the life-saving alarm. The numbers were now down in the 20's and teens up in the kitchen. They suggested we leave every window open, turn the furnace down to 55, and encouraged that Kian and I really not be in the house for awhile until it clears out. He and I are most susceptible and "damage-able" right now. They said that cats would be fine with the window open. Since none of us had any symptoms-no headaches, nausea or vomiting, they didn't think we needed to be checked out.

This is when it's great to have in-laws live only a few miles away. Kevin grabbed his work bag and we went right over. Kevin's dad was getting ready for work anyways. Kian was wide awake this entire time, enthralled with the firemen and loving the truck. He did settle down in bed with us at Kevin's parents and both boys fell right to sleep. I did not however. It was quite the experience, and had me thoroughly exhausted, but yet unable to sleep just yet. In one way, I am glad it wasn't the smoke alarm and that there wasn't a fire spreading through the house. Fire would have left so much damage and loss. But, on the other hand, if we had ignored that alarm or it had malfunctioned, we would have no warning and, well I can't think about that right now. I thank God that we woke up immediately and that our alarm was working properly, that we did not have any ill-affects from this. It truly was Him that we are all safe and okay right now.

So, Kevin went to work from his parents' house while Kian and I stayed there. Kian, of course, woke up at his usual 7:30 am, even after missing 2+ hours of sleep. I ran back home around 8:30 to close the windows and turn the furnace up and let the house warm up, and to feed the fish and cats. Then Kian and I stayed at the in-laws until Kevin was done with work at lunchtime and came to pick us up. This worked out well for me, who was so exhausted, to have Kian running around playing with grandma and let me sit around. hehe. She also let me run to Wegmans with her car and leave him there so when we got home we could just pick up the house and take a nap.

All we have to do is not use the wood stove until we have someone come clean it and check it out to see what the problem is, what the cause was. It could be the extremely cold temps causing smoke and CO back in the house, or a blockage, or some other random thing. It just means I have to have a blanket on me instead, but I am okay with that. I'd rather be cold and have my life!


american mum said...

yikes! Thank God for that alarm!

Anonymous said...

uh excuse me, it was I who installed those alarms. and I believe I've said many times fireplaces are stupid as you now know.

Anonymous said...

I think i'd get a new stove