'Thank you for saving my life' ; West Seattle woman offers gratitude to the Seattle Fire Department

Power outage could have resulted in the death of her and her grandson

EDITORS NOTE: Carol L. Williams and her grandson are lucky to be alive. In the power outage that occurred in West Seattle overnight Jan. 11 she and her grandson could have very easily passed away were it not for her own persistence and the quick action of the Seattle Fire Department. She shared her story with the West Seattle Herald in a letter:

I want to thank the Seattle Fire Department for saving my life and that of my grandson today. We lost power here in West Seattle last night during the raging storm and kept the fire in the fireplace going all night long. Late this morning my smoke alarm started going off.

It is a battery operated combination Fire/Carbon Monoxide detector. My grandson had added wood and thought that had caused it. There was a small amount of smoke but nothing in excess. I opened a couple of windows but the alarm was persistent. It simply kept chirping and since its the kind that talks to you it was saying "Fire, Fire. Get out". I thought OK the batteries are low and it wont shut up. I changed the batteries and it still kept it up then the Carbon Monoxide detector in the basement was going off and its electric...

But...I thought oh well the power outage has caused a short in the system. My furnace is only a year old and I could not smell anything and the small amount of smoke had cleared but both detectors continued. I tried to find a non emergency number to the Fire department but couldn't find one for the weekend.

I wasn't sure what to do so I called the non emergency number for the Police department and they patched me through to the Fire department.

They took my address first of all and then while I tried to explain that I still felt this was a false alarm three wonderful firemen showed up at my door.

They came in with equipment ready and about five feet inside my door they ordered me out immediately as the levels of Carbon Monoxide were so high. Thank God I sent my grandson and his dog outside prior to firemen arriving.

They brought in fans and I waited in my car until it was safe to come back in the house.

My fireplace was not suppose to have a damper in it as it was broken and they wanted too much to repair it so I paid them to remove it. Apparently the damper (that was not suppose to be in place at all) had fallen shut and the fumes from the fire had circulated through the house causing those dangerous levels. IF I had had only a smoke detector we would not had made it. I would have removed the batteries from the detector thinking it was faulty in some way since I could not see smoke nor smell anything and eventually we would have been overcome.

I was laying down reading and my grandson was watching TV at the time. IF you don't have a Carbon Monoxide detector in your home go to the store today and buy one for each floor of your house. A small investment for your life and that of your loved ones.

Carol L. Williams

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