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Long Island Family Has Close Call With Carbon Monoxide After Running Generator Inside

MIDDLE ISLAND, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- A woman who narrowly escaped death overnight spoke out Wednesday, about a mistake that put her entire family in grave danger.

Four people were nearly killed in their home overnight -- not by an intruder, but by something they let inside.

As CBS2's Hazel Sanchez reported, a piece of equipment giving off deadly gas lead to a dangerously close call.

Melanie Lyons and her family were forced out and may have to spend the night in a hospital -- along with several hours in a hyperbaric chamber after a generator filled their Middle Island home with carbon monoxide.

Lyons carried her 5 and 9-year-old sons to safety.

"It was very scary because I didn't know what was happening. I didn't know what was going to happen," son Jacob said.

The family said high winds knocked out a power line to their home early Tuesday morning, so they borrowed a friend's generator and placed it in their basement.

They turned the machine on around 10 o'clock Tuesday night.

"It's a two-story house. We figured we'd all be okay. With the windows and everything and obviously it was a bad mistake," Lyons said.

By 4:30 a.m. Lyons' family -- including two of her in-laws -- felt sick. Lyons' husband woke up in agony.

"Once I heard my husband moan, and he kept saying 'my head really hurts, my head really hurts' and I opened my eyes, and it literally just clicked, like oh my god carbon monoxide poisoning!" Lyons said.

"I felt really dizzy," Jacob recalled.

Lyons called 911, and the family was rushed to Mather Memorial Hospital -- the only hospital in Suffolk County that handles hyperbaric emergencies.

Lyons' husband had the most severe levels of carbon monoxide, and is expected to spend a total of 6 hours in the chamber.

"The main risk with carbon monoxide poisoning is you can have, you can have neurological problems that develop later on. That's the main reason we use hyperbarics," Dr. Kenneth Hirsch explained.

Lyons said she hopes others will learn from her mistake. The lesson; never run a generator meant for outside, inside your home.

"So stupid. Like the simplest thing could have just put it in the backyard, and ran the wire in there, and so stupid. My kids could have not woke up, I could have not woke up, my husband, my mother in law," she said.

They are all grateful to be alive.

The family did not have carbon monoxide detectors in their home. They said they're moving to Arizona this month and had packed them away.


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