Routine call turns out to be a life-saving one


BEACON FALLS — What was thought to be a routine call last week turned out to be anything but for first responders.

Beacon Hose Company No. 1 Fire Chief Jim Trzaski said the department responded to Burton Road Sept. 2 for a medical call. When EMTs Gretchen Carlson, Peter Monti and Joe Chew arrived on the scene a family member of a 90-year-old woman inside told them the woman was feeling ill, he said.

When they entered the home, alarms from carbon monoxide detectors in their “first-in bags” —  bags that contain medical and diagnostic equipment — started to go off, Trzaski said.

Trzaski said the department purchased the detectors last year and decided to put them in the “first-in bags” just in case first responders arrived on a scene with high levels of carbon monoxide, which is an odorless and colorless gas.

That was the scenario that played out last Friday.

Carlson, Monti and Chew evacuated the house and called for a firefighters to respond.

While they waited for firefighters to respond, Monti and Chew went back into the house to rescue the woman, who was semi-conscious, and carried her out to the front porch, Trzaski said. Carlson, who was outside the home, remained in contact with Monti and Chew, he said.

The woman was taken to Waterbury Hospital for treatment and was released.

Trzaski credited the actions of Carlson, Monti and Chew with saving the woman’s life.

Firefighters entered the home and found carbon monoxide readings over 1,000 parts per million, a dangerously high level, and ventilated the house, Trzaski said. The investigation discovered that the carbon monoxide was from a car that had accidently been left running in an attached garage, he said.

Trzaski said carbon monoxide alarms in the house went off earlier in the day, but a family member removed them assuming they were malfunctioning. He urged residents to contact emergency personnel when an alarm sounds.

“Don’t think that it’s a nuisance to call the fire department when an alarm sounds,” he said. “We’re more than happy to come check it out.”