ISSAQUAH, Wash. – An Issaquah family is back home after being rushed to the hospital Saturday morning when all six members became victims of carbon monoxide poisoning.
The yellow caution tape still hanging up in the neighborhood near NE Eagle Way serves as a scary reminder of what could have been for a family, still shaken that this could happen to them again or to someone else.
Amit Shah is the first person the Issaquah family called after dialing 911 for help, as carbon monoxide began to overcome them in their home.
“Basically when he started seeing people falling unconscious, he had the presence of mind to call 911 and give them all the right details,” said Shah of his friend, who was rushed to the hospital along with his wife, father, mother, and two young daughters, ages 5 and 1.
Shah says the father had accidentally left his van, equipped with keyless igniition, running overnight on Friday. By Saturday morning, she saw his wife and mother pass out.
“Initially we had come to take care of one patient, but then we had other members of the family experience identical symptoms as the first patient,” said Eastside Fire & Rescue Deputy Chief Michael Boyle.
Firefighters initially reported they didn’t see carbon monoxide detectors in the home, but the family said in fact they have one on every floor except none that alerted the family of six that day.
“The house has three carbon monoxide alarms, which is a cause of curiousness,” said Shah. “We would like to know or at least find out why none of those three alarms went on.”
It’s why the family has now bought three more alarms for the home. As an extra precaution, they will also be keeping their van parked outside as the concern over keyless ignitions grows nationwide.
Even with the fob outside the car, engines can keep running. If the car is parked in the garage that can have devastating consequences. They’ve been linked to the deaths of at least a dozen people since 2009.
“it’s pretty easy to forget, but as the technology evolves and mature, we believe carmakers find a way to turn off the car,” said Shah.
While the family said they had many factors working against them, the good news is they all survived and will be sharing their warning with others.
On Monday, Chief Boyle said investigators found three non-working carbon monoxide detectors in the home. All three were manufactured in 2008.
Devices made after August 2009 are required to have an end of life indicator, which is like an expiration date.
After that date, the devices need to be completely replaced. After that, alarms should be tested monthly.
Firefighters recommend installing detectors on every floor of the home, and in bedrooms, or hallways near sleeping areas.
According to experts, they should not be placed near windows, and ideally should be installed up high.