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Kitten saves Farmington Hills family poisoned by carbon monoxide

FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) - A four-month-old kitten helped rescue a family that was poisoned by carbon monoxide that spread through their house during a power outage.

Thor, a four-month-old kitten helped rescue a Farmington Hills family from carbon monoxide poisoning.  City of Farmington Hills

On Aug. 30, the Stamper family lost power at their home due to a summer storm, and they used a portable generator to run their appliances. 

The garage door accidentally got closed while they were running the generator, which exposed the family to carbon monoxide.

Heidi and Ronald Stamper, along with their daughter Paige, 13, and son Quinn, 11, were sleeping as carbon monoxide filled the home.

Their kitten, Thor, woke Heidi up with a screeching noise and was visibly sick.

She took Thor outside, saw that his condition improved, but then she brought him back into the house and soon lost consciousness herself.

According to the Farmington Hills Fire Department, Thor then started screeching again, and woke up Paige and Quinn, who were able to get their semi-conscious parents out of the house.

The Farmington Hills Fire Department arrived at the scene and transported the family to a local hospital. Heidi and the children were transported to Promedica Hospital in Toledo for specialized care.

"The Fire Department reminds everyone that generators should NEVER be used inside homes, garages, basements, sheds or any other enclosed or partially enclosed spaces," said Farmington Hills Fire Chief Jon Unruh. "In this case, using a portable generator in an enclosed garage almost had deadly consequences." Carbon monoxide is tasteless, colorless, odorless, and impossible for human senses to detect. It builds up quickly and lingers for hours, even after generators are turned off.  

The whole family, and Thor survived, and are sharing their experience to help educate people on how to safely use generators.

"This is a frightening example of how carbon monoxide can accumulate quickly and potentially be fatal," said Chief Unruh. "Fortunately, this incident had a positive ending, but we hope all families will learn from the Stampers and keep their generators outside."

Officials say the Stampers did not have any carbon monoxide detectors, but now have several installed throughout their house.

 If any residents need help with purchasing or installing a carbon monoxide alarm, they can contact the Farmington Hills Fire Department at 248-871-2800.    

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