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Last Wednesday February 22 we went to bed around 10.30 p.m. At 2.30 a.m. the Carbon Monoxide detectors in the hall outside of our bedroom sounded a high piercing scream that awoke us.

There was no foul smell or smoke. I guess that is why they refer to Carbon Monoxide poisoning as the silent killer. At first we thought that the battery outside of our room was overdue for change when suddenly the detector downstairs joined in the screaming.

The directions on the cover of the detectorís were very specific: "Call 911 immediately". I dialed the three numbers and an operator asked me to confirm my mailing address and location of Hamilton and Harris Roads. She directed us to immediately leave the house advising us that the Dorchester Fire Department had been alerted.

Ella and I threw on some clothes and made our way to the mud room which didnít have access to the air that had poisoned our home. The shrill screams of the detectors went on unabated.

In a few minutes the Rescue truck and crew of eight highly trained firemen arrived with oxygen masks and detectors in hand entered the house. After a preliminary sweep of the house they told us: "GET OUT".

We were escorted to the Rescue truck which quickly became the communication contact center between the firemen. The Rescue cab sheltered us from the bitter below zero readings. Audio responses indicated that the upstairs level had over 36 parts per million of Carbon Monoxide gas when the reading if all was ok should of been closer to zero.

We were told that we couldnít return to our home until it was safe. Where to go and who could help in our time of need in the middle of the night for two senior citizens was hard. Staying in our car was an option that was quickly dispelled by one of the volunteers. He offered to call his mother and have her make us comfortable with a cup of tea and muffins.

With the passage of time the house was deemed safe to enter. With our furnace shut off we came back home. We fortunately had our gas insert in our family room that provided some heat to warm the house.

The furnace was toast and a new replacement could not be installed until Friday. Staying in a very cold home was not an option and we booked at a hotel room in London for the night. Darryl who manned the front desk gave us a seniors discount, a very quiet nice room and complimentary breakfast for two the next morning. We returned home at 8.30 a.m. to welcome the installers who installed our new furnace by early afternoon.

Thank God for the Carbon Monoxide detectors whose persistent howling literally saved our lives. How can you thank those who came to our aid? Word do not seem adequate.
Eight volunteer who in the middle of the night put themselves in harms way to help a neighbor in distress?

Our favourite air/heating tech came minutes after our call to offer advise on how we could replace our furnace.
A hotel desk attendant who welcomed us with words of consolation and a comfortable room and a delicious breakfast.

All of the above would have not been possible if my wife Ella had not purchased our detectors. We too would have quietly passed away in our sleep as did a husband and wife who were police officers in Woodstock.

When you read this letter please make your way to the nearest hardware store and purchase detectors for each floor of your home. Your life and your families well being are too precious to procrastinate. The sign in front of the Dorchester Fire Department asks us to: "Update your 2013 Home Escape Plan ." Please do not become another statistic.

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com