When he bought the carbon monoxide detectors three years ago “to keep the place safe” Tom Moore didn’t really think they’d save his life one day.
He’d lived in his home on Briscoe Street in old South since 1948, and in half a century, there hadn’t been a carbon monoxide leak.
But suddenly, after a bizarre chain of events involving his neighbours, a duct cleaning service and the furnace intake pipe on the outside his home, those detectors paid off in loud, alarming shrieks.
“I probably would’ve been dead if it weren’t for the alarms,” said Moore, a sudden advocate for the detectors who quickly added “They’re on sale at Tuckey’s (home hardware) right now, if you don’t have one.”
By the time firefighters responded to Moore’s 911 call, the carbon monoxide levels were dangerously high, agreed London’s deputy fire chief, Jim Jessop.
“The outcome of this story could have been very tragic, had they not had working detectors,” said Jessop. “Firefighters got positive readings high enough to go put on their self contained breathing apparatus.”
The incident started just after 10 a.m., when Moore and his wife Linda were sitting in their home. Next door, their neighbours were having ducts cleaned and the truck — with its generators — was running in their driveway between the two houses.
The fumes from the truck travelled into the furnace intake pipe and into the Moore’s home. Because carbon monoxide has no scent, the couple had no clue the deadly gas was filling up their home, but it quickly set off the detectors.
“We called 911 and went out on the porch and then the firetrucks came up,” he said.
Jessop said four fighters responded to the call and remained at the home for a few hours, airing it out and ensuring it would be safe to go back inside for the Moores.
“If this had gone on for a number of hours, they would have become very ill.”
Though the Moores voluntarily installed the alarms in their home, carbon monoxide detectors are not mandatory in older homes. Yet.
A bill introduced by Oxford MPP Ernie Hardeman to make the detectors required in every home across the province is poised to become law.
Hardeman introduced his bill after the deaths of well-known OPP Const. Laurie Hawkins, 41, her husband Richard, 40, their daughter Cassandra, 14, and their son Jordan, 12. The family died of carbon monoxide poisoning in December 2008, because of a poorly vented fireplace in the basement of their Woodstock, Ont., home.
He has re-introduced the private members bill at Queen’s Park five times. Though there has not been opposition to it, the bill has died four times because of government holdups and prorogations.
Now it is scheduled for a second reading on Oct. 31, and if it passes, it could become law by Christmas.
Hardeman says he keeps hearing about other incidents that confirm his passion to get it passed.
“Those are the type of things that keep you going on issues like this,” he said.