Rochester Mother still Advocating for Carbon Monoxide Awareness After 21 Years

January 06, 2017 06:17 PM

(ABC 6 News) - Carbon monoxide is known as the silent killer. 

“People get co poisoning because it's odorless colorless and tasteless so you can be overcome by it in a short period of time," Rochester Assistant Fire Marshal Gary Schroeder said.


Cheryl Burt experienced the worst possible effects of carbon monoxide first hand when she lost her two youngest sons in Jan. 1996.

“I said 'oh my God, I have to do something about this to make sure this doesn't happen to other people," Burt said.  

Burt’s family had been experiencing symptoms of CO poisoning from a faulty furnace in their new home, for months, without even realizing it. 

"It made us all really sick,” Burt said, “But we didn't know why we were really sick." 

Sadly on Jan 5, 1996, the amount of carbon monoxide was more than the two smallest members of her family could physically bear.

"Zach, the 16-month-old was already dead. Nick, who was 4-years-old, hadn't even had a birthday party yet, he was dead in his bed,” Burt said, “it was very surreal.” 

Rochester Fire recommends people buy a carbon monoxide detector if they don't already have one.

"With winter now our houses are sealed up our furnaces are on and we run our cars inside our garages," Schroeder said.

Schroeder said people should regularly check their furnaces and exhaust pipes and never run their car inside a garage. 

"Even with your garage door open, you still get gases from the vehicle and they can start seeping into your house,” Schroeder said. 

Minnesota U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar helped pass a law named after Nick and Zach in 2015. That law requires all homes to have working carbon monoxide detectors.


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