Family lucky to be alive, receives lifesaving donation

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IONIA COUNTY, Mich. – A family who faced deadly levels of carbon monoxide levels in their home just days ago can breathe easier now, literally.

On Thursday Sarah Smith, a mother of four, awoke after one of her kids fell out of bed and began complaining of headaches. Upon waking up, Sarah realized she too was experiencing headaches and light-headedness along with the entire family. She quickly got in touch with her husband, a trucker who was on the road at the time, and evacuated the family from the home – and it was a good thing she did. Levels of CO in the home were nearly twenty times the level needed to set off most detectors, a deadly situation for the unsuspecting family.

“If I would have fallen back asleep,” Sarah said, “chances are I wouldn’t have woke back up.”

Ionia officials said it was the highest levels of carbon monoxide they’d seen in a home in quite some time, attributing the leak to a faulty furnace. But their problems may soon be over, thanks to the generosity of two West Michigan companies.

After seeing their story on FOX 17 News, Lowell-based Arctic Heating and Cooling and Grand Rapids-based Johnstone Supply teamed up to provide the Smiths with a brand new furnace, free of charge. Arctic covered the labor and Johnstone provided the hardware, a service they say they try to provide to a family or organization at least once a year. They’ve been performing the pro bono work for nearly a decade.

"Usually around the holidays,” said Arctic owner Evert Bek. “We check with local ministries and food banks - sometimes we talk to them to see if anybody needs a furnace."

The family was gracious and understandably surprised by this incredible act of generosity – one that was potentially lifesaving.

“You don't get a new furnace every day for free,” said Bek. "It’s a good feeling to know that it won't happen again. They're good to go when they come home tonight, it's warm."

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