Couple survives CO poisoning, offers cautionary tale

Posted at 5:52 PM, May 12, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-12 22:24:35-04

WEST JORDAN, Utah – Sitting on their family couch in West Jordan, Dillon and Christi Dwyer have a new perspective on life about one week after they found themselves fighting for their own.

“Some of those little petty arguments you used to have, that’s not even worth arguing about,” Dillon Dwyer said.

Last Saturday, the couple was spending the weekend at their cabin in Acord Lakes when they woke up in the middle of the night feeling sick.

“Headache, nausea, dry mouth, just wanting to drink lots of water,” Christi Dwyer said, describing the symptoms she soon realized her husband was also exhibiting. “I felt like a robot trying to move my body, and it wouldn’t move, and it was hard, and it was scary."

While they didn’t realize it at the time, the two had carbon monoxide poisoning and were quickly losing control of their muscles. A quick decision to leave the home to get fresh air most likely saved their lives.

“All of a sudden I heard a big thud, and her head was laying a foot behind me. I was not knowing if she was alive at that time,” Dillon Dwyer said. “I had no energy or ability to even check on her, and it was like the worst feeling in my life.”

Outside the cabin Christi eventually came to, and Dillon managed to get them into their car and reach his family’s cabin 3 miles away.

“As soon as we hit the base of the mountain we blacked out, we don’t remember anything except pulling into this house that had some lights on," Dillon Dwyer said.

Waking up at a hospital later, the couple learned the toxic gas had saturated their blood.

“For a healthy adult, around 40 [percent] it can start to become life threatening and go up,” Dillon Dwyer explained, “And they predicted, being two hours after that, we were probably 10 to 20 percentage base points higher than that. So, yeah, we are very lucky to make it out.”

The Dwyers later learned their propane fridge was to blame for the leak. They did not realize it was supposed to be inspected every six months. Since the incident, they have turned off all the cabin’s propane appliances and installed two carbon monoxide detectors in the home.

Related story: Kearns family recovering after carbon monoxide exposure