An Edmonton refugee family is recovering from carbon monoxide poisoning, the result of a broken furnace and lack of a carbon monoxide detector in the home.
The family from Ethiopia says their furnace stopped working on Thursday night and by morning, the family felt sick.
“The only thing I remember was getting up at four to go to the washroom and I don’t remember anything else after that,” Marisa Ganamo told CTV Edmonton. “I just fainted.”
Her step-father Hussein Turi was out but says when he returned to the family`s townhouse, he found his expecting wife and their children had fallen ill, prompting him to call 911 before getting sick himself.
“My son was vomiting, my wife she fell down,” says Turi. “She can’t talk, she fainted.”
Officials have determined the faulty furnace began emitting carbon monoxide while the family slept. With no carbon monoxide detector installed in the home, the family was unaware what was happening.
Turi said coming from Ethiopia, the family had never heard of carbon monoxide before and didn’t recognize the signs and symptoms of poisoning.
“We come from Africa, in Africa there’s no heaters,” he told CTV Edmonton.
The family`s townhouse is run by Capital Region Housing, a provider of social and affordable housing in Edmonton. The company has told CTV Edmonton the townhouse`s furnace was outdated and added the family was on a waitlist to get a carbon monoxide detector, as are other townhomes.
Since the incident, CEO Greg Dewling says a new furnace has been installed in the house and a carbon monoxide detector is in the process of being installed as well.
According to Dewling, the company is also upgrading equipment in other homes.
“We have identified all the ones that need upgrades once we get provincial and federal funding to upgrade them,” CEO Greg Dweling said. “We will do them as soon as we can.”