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Buchanan siblings turn carbon monoxide scare into campaign for safety

BUCHANAN, Mich. – Three young siblings in Buchanan turned a scary run-in with carbon monoxide into a community-wide event on Saturday, where they handed out free CO detectors they collected to neighbors in need.

The Carlin children spent December organizing and fundraising for Saturday’s event.

Their mother, Stacey Carlin, said she was not sure if people were going to show up, especially with the weather.

But dozens of people stopped by the Buchanan Fire Department. And thanks to the three Carlin kids — all under 10-years-old — each person got their hands on a free carbon monoxide detector.

“I thought that was awesome,” said Mike Kitchell, who heard about the event on the news and swung by to pick up a detector. “To actually have the kids doing it, and they were enthusiastic about what they were doing.”

Cy Carlin, 9, is one of the kids who organized the giveaway.

“It just feels great, you know?” he said. “It could save anyone’s life doing this. So if we do this, it will make sure their life gets saved!”

ABC57’s Jess Arnold spoke with Cy and his two sisters, seven-year-old Katala and three-year-old Kaliana, in December about the family’s run-in with the silent, odorless gas.

Stacey said the incident left an impact on Cy especially, because he was old enough to understand how serious it was.

“He heard the fire department talking about the dangerous levels and how if we had been in there for maybe 10 or 20 more minutes, it could’ve been a different outcome,” Stacey said. “So he really internalized that. And when we started brainstorming ideas of things that we could do, it was just an automatic and really easy decision.”

“It’s so important to me cause, in my heart, I just don’t want anyone getting hurt or anything bad happening to anyone in Buchanan,” Cy said.

The siblings spent the month of December writing letters, making signs, and putting out collection jugs to raise money.

They built a stockpile of 350 carbon monoxide detectors.

Some of them came from the LaPorte non-profit, The LOK Wishing Tree Foundation, which dropped off 150 detectors at Saturday’s event.

Along with the non-profit, three dozen businesses, organizations and the Buchanan community helped make the event possible.

The Carlin Family will continue collecting detectors and are hoping to raise awareness until every home in Buchanan has one.

Buchanan Assistant Fire Chief Bobby Blaylock said any level of carbon monoxide is dangerous, but the CDC says about 35 parts per million is the level of CO gas that can start negatively impacting your health.

Blaylock added that even though a measurement of 9 parts per million is alright to live in, he’d still immediately call the fire department so they can come and take measurements.

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