In this case, birds turned out to be man’s best friend.

A family in Zion, Ill., cheated death early Friday morning, around 3:30 a.m., when their pet birds began making noise and trying to escape from their cages, according to Lake County News-Sun.

A member of the family that worked a night shift came home to hear and see birds, who had detected carbon monoxide that was apparently leaking from a malfunctioning tankless hot water heater.

The person who had come home from his late shift, finding other residents of the house already feeling sick, called the Zion Fire & Rescue Department, which detected 345 parts per million (ppm) in the house, the local paper reported. Levels above 35 ppm are considered dangerous.

Six people were taken to Vista Medical Center in Waukegan, Ill., were they were treated for carbon monoxide poisoning.

Authorities believe the source of the carbon monoxide was a tankless hot water heater, but the story didn’t say what brand heater it was.

Late last year, there was a massive recall of tankless hot water heaters made by Navien America Inc., because it was believed that the devices posed a risk of leaking carbon monoxide. I blogged about it.

The Navien water heaters posed a hazard because “an unstable connection can cause the water heater’s vent collar to separate or detach if pressure is applied,” according to a press release from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPCS).  ”A detached vent collar poses a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning to the consumer,” the CPCS said.

I’m curious to know if this Zion family had a Navien water heater.

The story by the Lake County News-Sun also noted that Friday’s incident is the second local case of carbon monoxide poisoning. On July 7 five family members in Waukegan were overcome by carbon monoxide that came from a gas-powered generator they were using inside their home to operate an air conditioner.


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