Family saved from carbon monoxide poisoning by crying toddler

By The Canadian Press
January 21, 2016 - 3:59pm Updated: January 21, 2016 - 5:29pm

KAMLOOPS — Fifteen-month-old Celia Ruppel is being credited with saving her life, the lives of her parents, and the family’s several cats and dogs after carbon monoxide filled their Kamloops home.

It happened last Friday when the toddler woke in the middle of the night, crying and alerting her parents, who quickly realized that they, Celia and the pets were at the point of collapse.

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Celia’s mother, Monique, said her daughter was crying and then began to vomit and she knew something was really wrong when she looked down at the cat passed out on the floor.

Kyle Ruppel said both he and his wife had horrible headaches, were dizzy and had burning eyes. He said he got his family and the pets out of the home and called for help. At first, the family was taken to the nearby Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops

“From there, our doctors consulted with Vancouver General and the hyperbaric chamber specialists and they decided to airlift us down and we did three sessions in the hyperbaric chamber,” he said.

Ruppel said the doctors told him that if Celia hadn’t started crying, they probably would have made the news for all the wrong reasons.

“So if it wasn’t for her waking up and getting our attention it could have been a lot different story. She’s pretty small and doesn’t understand what happened yet, but I’m sure one day we’ll have to explain it to her.”

The family’s home now has a new furnace to replace the old one that pumped the deadly, odourless gas throughout the house.

Kyle Ruppel said his family’s experience shows that all property owners need to install carbon monoxide detectors.  

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Firefighters in the suburban Victoria community of Langford echo the advice, noting they have responded to six carbon monoxide calls in the last two months.

In each case they say it was a detector that warned residents to get out, but in two of the calls an occupant of the home still needed treatment for carbon monoxide poisoning.

— With files from The Canadian Press

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