(NECN: Alysha Palumbo, Barnstable, Mass.) - A little carbon monoxide detector may have saved the lives of an entire family in Barnstable, Mass.
Marita Halesworth sent three of her kids off to school Wednesday morning, but had stayed home with one of her 7-year-old twins because he had flu-like symptoms.
"I was about to call the pediatrician when they started screaming off the carbon monoxide detectors," she said.
Halesworth called the fire department, and first responders say as soon as they opened they door they got very high CO readings.
"We narrowed down the problem to a malfunctioning heating device in the home, we subsequently shut that device off, ventilated the home to safe limits," Barnstable Fire Chief Francis Pulsifer said.
Marita and her son Gabriel were tested and eventually transported to the hospital for oxygen treatments, but not before Marita and Chief Pulsifer thought to check on the other children possibly exposed to the odorless, colorless and tasteless poison before going to school.
"First they said I was going to the hospital, so they first did my finger and one of the teachers came down to go with me and then they said I wasn't," 10-year-old Andrew said.
Andrew tested out just fine, but his 18-year-old sister Emily and 7-year-old brother Nicholas had to be transported to the hospital for oxygen treatments.
Barnstable Schools Superintendent Dr. Mary Czajkowski said, "They reacted very calmly, they were tested, they were feeling fine, so there was no indication they were ill, but I think it was wise on the mom's part to follow up."
Marita says she can't believe the timing of this because she had just had her carbon monoxide detectors inspected.
She said, "I had the carpenter here a week ago to replace them and update them and it took him a long time and I thought my husband's not going to be happy when he sees the bill, but I don't think he's going to care now."
Marita says her husband is in New York on business and as of this afternoon had no idea what had happened. She says for now she and the kids will be staying with friends and relatives until they can get their heating system fixed.