MARYLAND

Fort Washington family overcome by carbon monoxide

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A Fort Washington family remains hospitalized Wednesday after being exposed to extremely high levels of carbon monoxide in their home early Tuesday morning. 

The Sandoval family is doing much better after they were overcome by carbon monoxide. (Photo: ABC7) (Photo: Brianne Carter)

Yesika Sandoval was overcome with emotion as she recalled her and her family's close call with death.

As tears ran down her face, Sandoval recanted what little she could remember from Monday night.

At 9:40 p.m., she and her husband Herbert called 911 after their 2-year-old son fell off the bed and had a seizure.

"He told the doctor it was something wrong with his breathing; I don't think it has to do with the head," Sandoval said.

Prince George's Fire officials say that first responders transported a child from the house to an area hospital at about 8:40 p.m. Monday when he fell off a bed and had a seizure.

Upon arrival to Children's National Medical Center, the child’s blood work showed high levels of CO. That prompted the hospital to call EMS.

Herbert was the only one to go with his son to Children's Hospital, but when he called home, no one picked up. He then called the basement resident to check on his wife and children--a 4-month-old, 6- and 11-year-old.

"He went upstairs with the phone on and he said, 'Oh my god, everybody is on the floor,'" said Herbert Pereira.

Moments later, the housemate collapsed, just feet from the door, with the newborn right next to him. Everyone else was unconscious.

"I was hitting the walls," said housemate Jose Guiterrez. "That's when I fell down and started vomiting."

Relative Mario Hernandez said Herbert called him from the hospital after being told by the housemate that everyone was passed out on the floor. After repeated calls, the housemate wouldn't pick up the phone so Hernandez came to check on the family.

Hernandez says he broke down the door. He grabbed the baby just before paramedics arrived.

"I checked her and she opened her eyes like I'm here," Hernandez said. "I put her in the truck and came back to get the other two kids."

EMS arrived to the house soon after Hernandez and started triage on the family.

Everyone was brought into a hyperbolic oxygen chamber at the University of Maryland shock trauma center except for the baby, who doctors say physiologically did not take the hit. They say that's unexplainable.

"We don't know exactly how it was that she had not become unconscious," said Dr. Phi-Nga Jeannie Le, a Hyperbaric medicine physician. "If she hadn't, she was probably heading to that point."

Officials say had EMS not been alerted, the family would have never woken up.

As the family finishes treatment, they're back to feeling full of life and gratitude.

"If it wasn't for my brother, I wouldn't be here right now," Sandoval said.

Even though the leaking furnace that released the CO has been fixed, the family says they're afraid to go back into their Fort Washington home.

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