A trip to the Klebs family cabin in Alaska ended in devastation when flu symptoms secretly masked the real threat happening inside the home.
Parents Matt and Sarah took their 8-year-old daughter, Caroline, and their 10-year-old son, Gavin, to stay in the cabin, while their 14-year-old son, Connor, stayed with friends, according to the Alaska Dispatch News. It was there the kids began feeling sick.
Caroline was given an Advil when she got a headache, and Gavin followed by vomiting. Their mother assumed the children were getting the flu from their symptoms, putting both of them to bed.
Gavin slept on the couch, and Sarah took her daughter to bed with her, just feet away from her son, who sadly, would never wake up again.
A family friend became nervous when the mother never came to pick up Connor, driving to the cabin after sending texts that went unanswered. Sarah and Caroline were both unresponsive when they were discovered on the bed, and Gavin was dead on the couch.
The 10-year-old boy and his sister did not have the flu — they were slowly being killed by carbon monoxide that was filling the cabin by leaking out of the refrigerator.
Sarah and her daughter were placed in hyperbaric chambers for oxygen treatment after being flown to Seattle, but Gavin never got that chance because the “silent killer” had already taken his young life.
The Mayo Clinic describes carbon monoxide as a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas produced by burning gas, wood, propane, charcoal, or other fuel.
Improperly ventilated appliances and engines, particularly in a tightly sealed or enclosed space, may allow carbon monoxide to accumulate to dangerous levels, noting carbon monoxide poisoning can be especially dangerous if you are sleeping or intoxicated.
Symptoms include dull headache, nausea or vomiting, weakness, dizziness, confusion, blurred vision, shortness of breath, and loss of consciousness.
Sarah remembers her legs feeling like “rubber” when she woke up and tried to get out of bed. She also recalls seeing the texts being sent to her phone, but didn’t have an answer for why she didn’t respond to them.Screenshot/Instagram
The mother was shocked carbon monoxide poisoning did this to her family:
“How would you know? Prior to this, I never would have thought about it.”
While Matt, a mechanical contractor, was embarrassed this happened in his cabin given his profession, he claimed he did regular checks on the appliance that he said was in good shape:
“I’m in the business to keep this from happening.”
The couple did not have a carbon monoxide detector installed in the cabin they had been working on building for the past four years, waiting to put one in when winter came.
Matt discussed carbon monoxide taking Gavin’s life:
“You could say, ‘Well what if a few things were different, it would have played out differently,’ I feel like it was his time, and it wasn’t theirs and (God) aligned to take him and take him peacefully and that’s what we’re accepting.”
The cabin will be staying a part of the family’s life, Matt said that’s the way Gavin would have wanted.
Sarah and Caroline are both healing well from the poisoning, with the 8-year-old being healthy enough to go to school.
A GoFundMe page has been setup to help the family with their medical costs.