SIX members of the same family suffered carbon monoxide poisoning after a leak at their Blackburn home.
Neighbours said it was a ‘miracle’ the Patel family was rescued after a faulty water heater in the kitchen pumped the lethal gas through their house in Railway Grove, Little Harwood.
Brother and sister Yasin and Fatima managed to escape the worst of the fumes and have been praised for alerting the emergency services, just before 1pm on Saturday.
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But their parents Yusuf and Yasmin, and brothers Mohammed and Anas, had already collapsed and were unresponsive in the dining room of the terraced property.
One firefighter who was among the first to arrive said it was ‘like Armageddon’, with bodies sprawled around the back room.
Neighbour Asma Patel said: “In another couple of minutes they could have been dead. You could see they weren’t well as they came out of the house.”
Her husband Salim added: “There were police cars and ambulances all along the road. It is just lucky that one of them managed to call 999.”
Watch manager Gary Ibbotson said a crew found an older boy and girl in a confused state on the pavement outside while the rest of the family members were semi-conscious.
Firefighters used ventilation fans to clear the property before officers went inside and gave the victims oxygen.
Mr Ibbotson said: “It was like Armageddon. There were bodies lying around everywhere. They were quite lucky because all six of them could have been in the dining room at the time.
“One of them had said earlier that they felt sick and the father said he couldn’t walk straight.
“One of the boys and his sister were in the living room and when they went back to the dining room everyone had collapsed around them.
“He put two and two together and thought that it must have been gas but he couldn’t smell anything because it was carbon monoxide.
“He probably saved their lives with what he did.
“The call was made initially to the ambulance service but we were alerted as well and we arrived on the scene at the same time as the first ambulance.”
An engineer was called out from the gas board to isolate the supply and the leak was eventually traced to the water heater which had broken and released fumes into the dining room.
All six were initially taken to Royal Blackburn Hospital, where it is said carbon monoxide poisoning was confirmed. The family members were discharged later and were believed to be stopping with family in Bolton yesterday.
Two more people who had been at the property prior to the incident also attended Royal Blackburn as a precaution when they felt unwell.
Mark and Hayley Kelly, who live the other side of the affected house, said they were relieved the family managed to get out in time.
Mr Kelly said: “They have been our neighbours for nearly 20 years. It was a miracle that they got out and we just hope they are all right now.”
According to neighbours, Yusuf works for Blackburn Council and his wife is a teaching assistant at St Stephen’s Primary School.
Carbon monoxide is both colourless and odourless and can cause those affected to initially suffer dizziness, nausea and led to collapse and even death.