I was working at my kitchen table first thing. Normally, I am up in my loft workroom beavering away but today I was waiting for a customer to collect a dolls house. Suddenly about 9.30ish, above the noise of the radio, I heard next door’s alarm go off...I just assumed that it was their smoke alarm and neighbour “Jack” was burning his breakfast...again!
However, as it went on and on, hubby came in and asked me what the noise was. I just casually replied that it was probably neighbours cooking breakfast......”BUT they couldn’t be” hubby says....”I saw them go out in their car about 20 minutes ago”!! We both raced to the back garden....hung over the fence to see if we could spot any smoke or flames....I kid you not!
No sign of fire but grabbed their key (we have for emergencies) and cautiously entered their house. The noise was incredible as by this time, there were two alarms going off....but we were baffled as it was not coming from their smoke alarm in the hall. Although there was no smell of smoke, the air in the kitchen was really odd....so stuffy that we wanted to get out quickly....was not nice. We discovered that the noise was coming from two carbon monoxide detectors in the kitchen, sitting side by side on a cupboard? Very quickly, we got out of the place.
Meanwhile, never having had to deal with this sort of thing before, quickly Googled "carbon monoxide detectors" on the internet to find out more.........OMG, I really hadn't realised to quite the extent on how dangerous all this was!
My elderly neighbours had gone shopping and oblivious to this. We sat through the noise of their alarms....pondering on what to do. On their return about an hour later, we grabbed them, warned them on what had happened and tried to deter them from going in the house. We rang the gas board from our house, followed their clear instructions – turned gas off at mains, opened all windows and doors and vacated the property etc. The "Carbon Monoxide Detector Guy" came very promptly. Over the next couple of hours he proceeded to test everything, including everything in our house and surrounding grounds too. Phew....our house was given the all clear and deemed safe. As there was only a brick wall to separate our semi detached houses....it could have been dangerous for us as well. By now, another engineer from the gas board arrived......very quickly it was determined that it was next door's ancient boiler........leaking carbon monoxide into the kitchen.
My neighbours were very lucky indeed. Without those detectors, they or us would not have known that there was a problem. In a short space of time they could have fallen unconscious. Had they been in when the dangerous carbon monoxide levels occurred, had we not been around to hear their alarms to warn them about going into the house, or had this happened at night, we may not have heard their alarms so quickly and my neighbours being deaf, may not have heard them at all.......the consequence does not bear thinking about.
We wondered why they had two detectors? Jack explained that they had bought very recently a brand new one that was on special offer at a local supermarket, as their other one was very old and he wasn't sure if it still worked. They thought it was a bargain price......how right they were in more ways than one.....it helped to save their life!
As for us....well, although we have three smoke alarms in the house (one on each level), it has NEVER occurred to us to get a carbon monoxide detector. We have our boiler serviced regularly....but then so did our neighbours!
Guess what I will be buying tomorrow! I hope anyone reading this tale, may consider purchasing one too.