Firefighter’s cousin dies from carbon monoxide poisoning

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This past fall my cousin, age 34, passed away due to carbon monoxide poisoning. She was the mother of two small children, a daughter age 4 and a son age 2.

Embedded in my memory from the memorial service are two things. First, is her daughter carrying her mother’s iPhone saying, “mommy’s phone,” hoping she would call.

Second, was watching her son look into the empty place that his mother’s remains would be laid to rest knowing he will never have any memory of her.

This was preventable. She was a successful businesswoman, mother and wife. Out of her loving approach to life she went to help her friend move. They got there late at night, turned on the heat and went to sleep. There were no carbon monoxide detectors and the heating unit was not properly vented to the outdoors.

They never woke up.

I am writing this in effort to prevent this from occurring again. I have the privilege of being a Firefighter here in Harvard. I go on many calls that allow me access to your homes. I do not want to be looking at your children standing at your funeral when it could have been prevented by simply installing detectors.

It has been the law in Massachusetts since 2006 that each home has detectors installed on every level of living space. We as a department do our best to educate you, but we need your help.

If you are elderly, disabled or require assistance to purchase and/or install a carbon monoxide detector or know of someone that needs assistance or have any questions, please do not hesitate to call the Harvard Fire Department.

Please install carbon monoxide detectors in your home and prevent future senseless loss. If you already have carbon monoxide detectors, replace them every five years.

BILL BARTON

Harvard Firefighter