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Dog Credited With Saving Family From Carbon Monoxide Leak

UPDATED 11/14/11 11:12 a.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A West Englewood neighborhood family is crediting their dog with saving them from a potentially deadly carbon monoxide leak.

As CBS 2's Mike Puccinelli reports, fire officials called a Level 1 Hazmat response at the home at 7131 S. Winchester Ave. Firefighters had to break out the upstairs front windows in the home in order to let out the massive amount of carbon monoxide gas that had built up inside.

The carbon monoxide level in the house was detected at over 1,000 parts per million, when it should have been zero. Exposures at just 100 parts per million are dangerous and can be deadly.

A 52-year-old woman, a 22-year-old man and two boys ages 14 and 12 were all taken from the home to Holy Cross Hospital in fair-to-serious condition, according to Fire Media Affairs. Walter Stegall, the brother of the man who was hospitalized, said a fifth person was also taken to the hospital.

Stegall said he gave his brother the dog, named Chico, who may have saved the family's life.

"I'm pretty glad that we did give them Chico, because Chico did save their lives, and that's a beautiful thing. I had called my mom this morning, and she started crying, but I told her the dog had saved their lives, and they got out pretty save," Stegall said.

Carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless, and thus can be had to detect. But Chico detected it right away, Stegall said.

"Actually, I heard the dog came up and barked in everybody's room to wake them up. He was going crazy in the house. I guess he smelled the carbon monoxide running through the house, and he was going crazy," he said.

The leak apparently came from a generator that had been running in the basement. The house did not have electricity.

As of 11 a.m., only one family member remained in the hospital, Stegall said.

Carbon monoxide detectors have been required in the city of Chicago since 1994, and statewide within 15 feet of rooms used for sleeping since 2006.

It was not immediately learned if the Winchester Avenue home had a carbon monoxide detector.

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