Lake City

Carbon monoxide victims credit neighbors for sounding alarm

Carbon monoxide victims credit neighbors for sounding alarm »Play Video
SEATTLE -- Five of the seven people hospitalized for carbon monoxide poisoning in their Lake City apartments have since returned home, and police are now sorting out why a car was left running in a closed garage.

Two elderly men passed out from the fumes Wednesday evening, but a neighbor got inside and pulled them out. .

Loly Tabiando said she and her husband had just returned from a shopping trip when they realized something was wrong.

"When we arrive we smell gas," she said.

The poisonous fumes seemed to fill her unit. Tabiando said before she figured out what was happening, Martin Corona from two units down rushed over to see if she was alright, then went to check on the neighbor between them.

"He knocked on the door at the other side," Tabiando said. "There was no answer."

Seattle police say the two residents inside had left a car running in the downstairs garage, and deadly exhaust was spewing into the building.

Tabiando said Martin Corona had a key to the elderly men's unit. He opened it and charged inside to find one victim slumped over. Then he checked the garage.

"They went to look for the other guy. I think they found him down there, in the stairs down there," she said.

Seven people ended up at the hospital, including a seattle police officer who went door-to-door and entered fume-filled units looking for other victims. There's no update on the older men's status since going to Virginia Mason in critical condition, but the other four neighbors and the officer are now safely home.

"I don't know if they are called heroes, but I would agree that they helped," Tabiando said.

Police are investigating why the car was left running with the garage door down. Neighbors don't think it was intentional, saying both men are elderly and people sometimes forget.

Firefighters say this incident is a good reminder for people to get carbon monoxide detectors for their home. Residents told us their heating and appliances are all electric, so they never bothered getting a CO sensor.