On Christmas Day my 6 ½ year old daughter was given a pair of zebra finches from her Great Aunt Laraine, the bird breeder. She was so excited she watered and fed them daily. To ensure this was happening, I went behind her and did the “quality check”. Several weeks later (3 to be exact) the birds died over night. We were very puzzled and let her Aunt know what had happened.
My husband and I were at a loss as to why these two lovely birds had died because we knew that our daughter had been very diligent about their care. They had even begun to lay eggs. That evening as we talked, we discovered we both had been smelling something within the upstairs of our house- kind of like the exhaust from your car when you pull it into the garage and close the door. We never told each other what we had been smelling because we thought we were being paranoid. The furnace was turned off that night. We relied on lots of blankets and layered clothing for warmth. I called the heating company the next morning.
The maintenance man said we indeed had a “toxic leak” of carbon monoxide. The combustion exhaust fan had failed and what we had smelled was the combustion gases that are given off in the furnace, one of which is the odorless carbon monoxide. We were very thankful no one else was hurt. Obviously, these beautiful little zebra finches saved our lives by warning us to have our heating system checked.
Since my daughter was heartbroken at loosing her finches, Laraine told her about the canaries that were used in the coal mines to warn the miners of dangerous gas leaks. Her birds had given their lives to save our family. Aunt Laraine has replaced the birds with a new pair, which my daughter promises to now guard with her life.
For protection in your home, for your pets and people, I highly recommend a carbon monoxide detector, which can be purchased at any hardware store for approximately $30.00.
Maureen and Chandler - Georgia
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