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Family meets dispatcher who saved them from deadly carbon monoxide poisoning

Posted: 6:49 PM, Aug 24, 2018
Updated: 2018-08-24 22:49:17Z

An Estero family was saved by an alert from a home security company, after toxic levels of carbon monoxide triggered a detector in their home. Friday, the DiGrazio family - parents Jackie and Brian, and daughters Emily, 4 and Olivia, 2 - met the dispatcher credited with saving their lives. ADT dispatcher Fred Cannon called the home at 3:30 one morning this summer, when the carbon monoxide detector in their kitchen alerted ADT.

"I was half-asleep and not understanding what was going on," said Jackie DiGrazio, who answered the phone. "When you don't see or smell anything, you don't really realize there's something seriously wrong."

In a recording of the call Cannon made to the home, he told Jackie, "You really need to leave the house. Let me call the fire department and have them check it."

"We thought back to the day before, when my husband got home with the kids," Jackie said. "They fell asleep (in the car) and he unloaded them from the car, with the car still running."

The car was left running all night until it ran out of fuel, filling the home with lethal gas. Luckily, the carbon monoxide detector in their kitchen - which they bought because they have a gas stove - alerted ADT in time.

Cannon, who works at an ADT facility in Tennessee, met the DiGrazios for the first time this week.

"It's been a really humbling experience," Cannon said. "Hopefully, by our actions, they're able to enjoy their children and their lives for many more years."

"Every evening when I go to bed, one of my prayers is that I can make a difference, and certainly did this time," he added. 

ADT presented a check for $5,000 to the Estero Fire Rescue Department Friday, in appreciation of their role in making sure the DiGrazios were safe. Chief Scott Vanderbrook said everyone needs a carbon monoxide detector in their home.

"They would not have survived by the morning if there wasn't a monitored alarm," Vanderbrook said.

Jackie said she and her husband are grateful for the milestones they've been able to experience since their narrow escape from the poisonous gas.

"We had our fifth wedding anniversary, Emily started school, and just watching Olivia grow," she said. "It's been amazing every day, just realizing what a gift it is that we are still here."