Police chief, nurse say not having a CO detector nearly killed them

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Jeff Baker is the police chief of Auburn Hills and admits he should have known better. 

His wife is a health professional and says she is embarrassed for not having something as simple as a carbon monoxide detector, something that nearly cost them their lives.

On a routine morning Michele Baker woke up and realized something was wrong. 

"I had a terrible headache, nausea, some stomach cramping" said Michele. "I thought I had the norovirus. I'm a nurse."

She stumbles back to wake up her husband. 

"She said I don't feel well and then she collapsed right there on the floor," Chief Jeff Baker said.

He tried to help, but can't.

"Feeling dizzy, like I was going to pass out too. I kind of leaned over the bed to get my bearings. I wasn't sure what was going on with me," Jeff said.

Their two teenage daughters heard the noise and came to investigate. 

"Both of them were saying they had headaches and their ears were ringing," Jeff said.

What they didn't know at the time is they were all suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning. They didn't know because they didn't have carbon monoxide detectors. 

"There was nothing to indicate something was wrong other than how we were feeling," Jeff said. 
The lack of oxygen affected their decision making sending the kids to go buy a detector rather than getting help. 

"The numbers just kept getting higher and higher," Jeff said.

To put it in perspective, most health professionals say dangerous levels start at 100 parts per million. 

"The highest level we had was like 463," Jeff said.

Once they did seek help. doctors told them how lucky they are to be alive. 

"I was transferred priority one in an ambulance to another hospital to be put in a hyperbaric chamber," Michelle said.

Two weeks later they are just now feeling normal again. The problem was a malfunctioning fan motor. 

"The exhaust goes through that vent but the furnace continued to run," Jeff said.

And it filled the house with poison - which is why they are sharing their story. If it can happen to a nurse and a police chief - it can happen to anyone.

"There are a lot of other people who have old non-functioning co detectors or not at all," Jeff said. "That is concerning because we were so lucky."
CO detectors have a life span of five to seven years. Each year in the us more than 20,000 visit the ER for carbon monoxide poisoning while 400 are killed annually.