by Ray Pauley
Public Information Officer
Grand Island Fire Co.
At 2:36 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 27, Grand Island Fire Co. rescue personnel responded to a third-party caller's report of "persons in distress" at 20 River Oaks Drive.
Firefighters/medics made repeated attempts to gain access when they arrived on location six minutes later, and were finally admitted by a disoriented occupant. Surya Yadavilli, 36 years of age, 29-year-old Chanda and a 13-month-old child were immediately evacuated from the residence and given life support treatment for exposure to "dangerously high" levels of carbon monoxide, which reached 300 parts per million, according to GIFC Capt. Shawn Kephart. They were then transported to Mount St. Mary's Hospital and Health Center for oxygen deprivation treatment in a hyperbaric chamber, according to GIFC medic Jon Cinelli.
Fire officials noted that any additional delay could have resulted in tragic, indeed fatal, consequences.
GIFC Chief Kevin Koch also points out that the February 2010 Amanda's Law mandates CO detectors for all residences in New York state. Functioning CO detectors would have given this family advanced life-saving warning, but were not known to be in use. The cause of such a CO buildup to a life-threatening level such as encountered in this instance can usually be attributed to a defective furnace/exhaust system, however National Fuel has not yet made such a determination.
Koch stressed that having a working CO detector is a small price to pay for your safety or life.
After the home was completely ventilated, all GIFC units returned to service by 3:48 a.m.