What started as a normal night for Cheyanne Fordham quickly turned into a scary situation. If it wasn't for her boyfriend coming home while she was asleep, she and her family might not be here today.
Fordham moved into a home on the 800 block of North 18th Street back in December, and said she's had problems with her furnace since day one. But nothing prepared her for what happened Saturday night.
“I was sleeping and my boyfriend came in the home and was like, 'hey, you know there’s something beeping the basement?’,” Fordham said. “So I come out into the hallway and I see my little cousin laying in the hallway and I’m like, 'why is she sleeping in that hallway?’.”
So she checked out the basement and smelled something burning, and heard a very faint beeping.
“I automatically said, 'okay it smells like fumes, get everybody out of the house. She’s not asleep she’s unconscious’,” Fordham said.
A smart move. Emergency responders said her carbon monoxide levels were dangerously high.
“Once you lose consciousness form the carbon monoxide, there’s nothing you can do about it,” Harrisburg Fire Chief Brian Enterline, said. “And the only thing that’s going to alert you to that is your carbon monoxide detector.”
Turns out they had one. But because it was in the basement, they didn't hear it until it was almost too late. All seven family members had to be treated for carbon monoxide poisoning at the hospital. Enterline said with heating season in full swing residents should use this as a reminder to check your carbon monoxide detectors, or install them.
“I think it’s just an issue of we forget about it, and it’ll never happen to us,” Enterline said. “And I truly believe and from the fire fatalities we’ve seen, over the last several years from the carbon monoxide incidents that we had, everybody that we talk to did not believe it could happen to.”
Cheyanne is grateful to be standing here today. Her message: get a detector on every floor.
“We had one in the basement, I was on the second floor,” Fordham said. “I couldn’t hear it, if it wasn’t for him coming home at the time he did. So just get that, keep your family safe, and hug your family and tell them you love them.”
If you're a Harrisburg resident and you need a carbon monoxide detectors, you can get one for free at the Harrisburg Fire Department. They'll even come out and install it for you.