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Brand new carbon monoxide detector saves family

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REXBURG, Idaho — It was a normal Sunday for Chris and Julia Marcum. They ate breakfast and spent some time playing with their young daughters before church.

What they didn’t know was there was an invisible danger lurking in their home and it’s likely a small detector saved their lives.

“At first I couldn’t really find what the noise was,” Chris Marcum tells EastIdahoNews.com. “We actually had recently purchased our carbon monoxide detector like a month and a half ago.”

The detector was left forgotten in the Marcum’s furnace room until Sunday, May 15 when carbon monoxide levels became life threatening and the alarm started to sound.

“My husband was like, ‘Everyone get out of the house,'” Julie Marcum says. “I got the baby up from her nap, grabbed the dog and my six-year-old was already outside crying. I think she thought our house was on fire.”

The Madison County Fire Department responded to the house and found the furnace was leaking carbon monoxide.

“It still feels kind of surreal – like we were actually in danger,” Chris says. “That day felt like just a normal day and there was nothing special about it. That’s how it would have felt even if we didn’t have it (the detector), I’m grateful that we did get the detector when we did.”

Madison County assistant fire chief Mikel Walker says this situation is a reminder of how important it is that gas appliances are installed properly and maintained.

“Make sure that your stuff is vented, your furnace is vented properly and your gas stove is vented if it has a chimney,” Walker says. “If your alarm goes off, open your windows, call the fire department, exit the house and protect yourself.”

The Marcum’s two-year-old daughter did get sick from the carbon monoxide but she has recovered and is doing well now.

The family says they’re grateful to be alive and hope those who don’t have smoke detectors will consider getting the life-saving tools.

“If we had not taken just a few minutes to get the detector, this would honestly be a different news story,” Chris says.

“It’s not a blazing fire, but it’s really just as deadly,” Julia says. “I’m just grateful that they were able to clear our house so quickly.”