NEWS

Labrador family has close call with carbon monoxide poisoning

02/26/2015 05:36 EST | Updated 04/28/2015 05:59 EDT
A western Labrador family was enjoying a movie night out at the cabin last weekend, but things took a dangerous turn when they realized they were suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Brandie Crant, her husband Terry and nine-year-old son Max were in the Blueberry Hill area — near Labrador City.

"All I knew was that I needed to get help there and I needed to get fresh air into the cabin," Brandie Crant told CBC's Labrador Morning.

Crant said she and her family had been feeling ill for much of the day but didn't know why, until her son passed out.

"We were in the living room area watching a movie and I started throwing up … and my son stood up and walked toward the bathroom and he passed out," she said.

"I asked my husband to go check on him and when he stood up and walked toward my son, he passed out. I knew then that we needed help and we needed air."

As a trained volunteer firefighter, Crant was able to recognize she and her family had carbon monoxide poisoning.

Too weak to break the window

Crant grabbed her cellphone and tried to dial 911 to get help, but her mind was foggy and it took her several tries to make the call.

When she finally did get through and explained what was happening, dispatcher Shelley Kelly recognized the scenario for what it was.

"Basically, my role was to make sure Brandie didn't go to sleep. I wanted to just try to keep her alert enough while the ultimate goal was to get air into the cabin," said Kelly.

Crant at one point puts the phone down to check on her family and can be heard crying out in the background, as Kelly tries to get her back on the line.

When Crant picks the phone back up, Kelly can be heard coaching Crant through what needed to be done.

Kelly directed Crant to try to open a door or window, and if she couldn't do that then find a piece of wood to break open a window while responders were en route.

Crant put the phone down and found a hammer and tried to break open a window, but was unable to because she was weakened from breathing in carbon monoxide.

"That was why I continued to call out to her because I wanted to make sure she just didn't go to sleep, because she was the main person in the cabin who I believe kept everybody alive because she continued to get up and check on the status of her son and her husband and try to get air in the cabin," Kelly said.

'Some strong woman'

At some point, someone is able to get the porch door open and get fresh air into the cabin.

Crant said all she remembers at that point is hearing the sound of snowmobiles approaching, as the first responders got closer to the cabin.

"It's been hard to really wrap my head around everything. You know, my family could be planning a funeral — there could have been a funeral today for a family of three but instead we're looking at taking a family trip down south somewhere, so we're very, very lucky," she said.

"We're just very thankful to be alive."

Crant credits Kelly and the dispatchers, as well as all of the first responders who arrived at the scene, with helping save her family's lives.

On the 911 call, Kelly can be heard saying, "Oh my Brandie I'm some proud of you, you're some strong woman."

Crant's response was, "That's what moms do."

According to Crant, she's expecting to have a few sleepless nights when she and her family go back to the cabin for the first time, but she hopes anyone who hears her story realizes how vital it is to install carbon monoxide detectors.

"Most everyone thinks about the smoke alarms and the fire extinguishers but carbon monoxide detectors is not something that's not on the forefront of everyone's mind, but hopefully this will draw a lot of attention to it and they will buy them for their homes, cabins and campers," she said.

Crant said it's suspected the wood stove at the cabin was the source of the carbon monoxide poisoning.

MORE:cbcNews