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Real Hero: Repairman saves woman's life by recognizing carbon monoxide poisoning

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

LOCKE --A furnace specialist doing a routine installation for the Cayuga/Seneca Community Action Agency became a lifesaver last winter, when he recognized the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Carl Harvey was installing a new water heater at a home in Locke.  The resident was on oxygen, and told him she'd been sick for weeks.  When he checked, he realized that a pipe on the old system was clogged, and carbon monoxide fumes had been coming into the home.  He urged resident Karen Stecker to call a doctor, and when they checked her blood  for CO, realized she was at near-lethal levels, which took weeks to bring back to normal.

Karen wrote the letter to the Red Cross, nominating Carl for the Industrial Safety award, calling him her hero.  He says he'd suffered from Carbon Monoxide poisoning in the past, and recognized the metallic taste it left in his mouth.

Every house is supposed to have a CO detector, under NY law.  When Carl checked Karen's, he found a dead battery.  She says that will never happen again.

This life-saving story has a lesson for all:  make sure you have a working CO detector--they protect against this odorless, colorless hazard.

Locke, New York