Grand Blanc Township family relieved after CO detector alerts them to leak

GRAND BLANC TOWNSHIP (WJRT) - (11/20/19) - A mid-Michigan family is relieved after being alerted to a leak by a carbon monoxide detector Tuesday.

"Just one of the things you don't think about until it hits home," Ramsey Nicholson said.

The UM-Flint college freshman was just arriving home with his little sister Ellyson when she walked in and noticed something wasn't right.

"I started to take off my shoes and then I heard the 'carbon monoxide' cause it says that, and then I ran back outside, I was like 'Ramsey, are the dogs home,'" Ellyson Nicholson said.

Grand Blanc Township Fire Chief Robert Burdette says the department received an emergency call around 5 p.m.

He says firefighters discovered a leak around the water heater.

"Families may not feel the effect of it but it was high enough for the alarm to sound. We found a leak around the water heater," Burdette said.

Consumers Energy was notified; the gas was shut off and firefighters ventilated the home.

"My dad opened up the crawl space just in case to see -- and that's where the discovery of this exhaust line was," Ramsey said.

Pictures inside of a crawl space in the basement show a rusted line that was the source of the leak.

The Nicholsons and their dogs are safe. Heather, Ramsey and Ellyson's mom, credits the fire department, specifically Michael Hertzberg, for spreading awareness just this summer of the need for carbon monoxide detectors.

"Had he not come around back in August it could've been a totally different story you guys were shooting today," Heather said.

Burdette recommends a plug-in CO alarm with a battery option as a backup. He says you should have more than one as well.

"Even though the alarm sounds sometimes they're very difficult to hear if they're like in the basement and you're on the third floor or second floor or something, so have them throughout your house because gas mixes readily with air," Burdette said. "The minute it gets in the furnace system it blows throughout the home, and it will sound the alarms."

Ramsey has this advice for other families.

"Get at least one carbon monoxide reader. Get two. We have five now. I mean that may be overboard but you can't put a price tag on life. You can't put a price tag on family," Ramsey said.

Another good tip is to remember that CO detectors are only good for up to five years and should be replaced. For more safety tips, visit this website.

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