Penryn Fire Dept. honored for response to carbon monoxide call

By on October 18, 2017

 

Chris Massaglia, ADT Pennsylvania and New York area manager (left), with (left to right) Sophia Thedford, Angie Calabrese (holding one of the family’s pets, a ball python), Rachael Wood, Brian Calabrese, and Jon Marvin, ADT vice president. (Photos by Rochelle Shenk)

August 25 started out as an ordinary day for Rachael Wood and her husband, Brian Calabrese. But that changed.

Wood was visiting family near Dover, Del., when she received a call from ADT, the security company for their Penn Township home. A carbon monoxide alarm was triggered around the heater of their indoor pool.

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), carbon monoxide — an odorless, colorless gas — kills 500 Americans each year and poisons 50,000 more. Pennsylvania has one of the highest rates of carbon monoxide fatalities.

“I was really scared,” Wood said. “I knew that carbon monoxide can build up and be deadly. I was nearly three hours away, and the kids were at home with my mom.”

Duane Hilton, the ADT dispatcher based in Rochester, N.Y., said while he was on the phone with Wood, one of the children called in and reported that an audible alarm was sounding.

“As soon as an alarm comes in, we dispatch it to the local fire companies,” Hilton said.

Penryn Fire Department President Doug Bollinger (left) accepts a donation from ADT Vice President Jon Marvin. The donation was presented in recognition of the fire department’s Aug. 25 response to a carbon monoxide alarm at the home of Rachael Wood and Brian Calabrese.

Ten-year-old Angie Calabrese said she knew from fire drills at school that the alarm meant to get out of the house, so that what she and the others did.

Zach Petticoffer, Penryn Fire Department second lieutenant, was one of the crew members responding to the carbon monoxide alarm. He said there were readings of carbon monoxide in the home that, over time, could have threatened the lives of everyone inside.

“I immediately shut off the gas and we aired out the home to make it safe,” he explained.

The family had a number of pets including a dog, two cats, ferrets, bunnies and reptiles. The children wanted to go in and rescue them, but firefighters wouldn’t allow that.

“We strongly advise families to get out of the home and stay out. Don’t go back in to rescue pets,” he stressed. “It’s hard, but carbon monoxide is really serious. Luckily in this situation, the alarms provided a warning so the family got out — they weren’t harmed and neither were their pets.”

Unfortunately after the carbon monoxide incident, Penryn Fire Department responded to another incident at the home on Sunday, Aug. 27. One of the daughters has a room on the lower level and noticed smoke. The family dialed 9-1-1 before the smoke monitor went off. Petticoffer said the smoke was from a motor in a HVAC unit.

“This the job we’re trained to do. After we had the situation under control, we pulled the smoke alarm off to check it,” he said.

The family had moved into the home a few weeks prior to the incidents.

ADT dispatcher Duane Hilton (left) receives an ADT Lifesaver Award from ADT Vice President Jon Marvin.

“I’m concerned about safety,” Calabrese said. “We have three children living here that’s why our home has seven carbon monoxide detectors as well as smoke detectors that are monitored by ADT.”

“There’s nothing more precious that we protect than our family,” said Jon Marvin. ADT vice president. “We have several layers of protection here, but we can’t replace what first responders do.”

In recognition of the quick response of the fire department, ADT presented Penryn Fire Department with a $5,000 donation during a ceremony on Wednesday, Oct. 11. Fire department president Doug Bollinger said the funds will be used to purchase a gas meter and other equipment for the new engine that will be delivered in the spring. The meter can detect four different types of gas including carbon monoxide.

“It’s an important tool to have,” Bollinger said.

Also during the event that was held during National Fire Prevention week, Hilton had an opportunity to meet the family his actions helped save. The 18-year veteran dispatcher was also presented with an ADT Lifesaver Award. Staff from the Lancaster ADT office who were involved with sales and installation of the system also received the ADT Lifesaver Award.

Rochelle Shenk is a correspondent for the Lititz Record Express. She welcomes your comments and questions at RAASHENK@aol.com.

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