A single mother and her baby son are lucky to be alive after being poisoned by lethal carbon monoxide fumes.
Janina Gorniak, 20, who passed out several times at her home on Vyvyan Street in Camborne, was rescued by her ex-partner Floyd Weaver, who was also overcome by the toxic fumes.
The Cornwall College student was using an open fire to warm her home on November 3 when she started to feel unwell.
She had a severe headache and grew concerned for the safety of her 17-month old son, Lucijan, after she collapsed several times.
She contacted her ex-partner, Mr Weaver, a chef in St Ives, asking him to take care of their son while she went to hospital.
“I passed out and when I came round and I could hear shouting. I crawled to the top of the stairs but fell down. I then came round in hospital, it was 3am and I was sick again. I felt very weak and it was then that they told me my son and Floyd had also been admitted.”
Mr Weaver, a chef from St Ives, called ambulance crews at 6am after suffering severe headaches while looking after his son.
All three were later transferred to Derriford Hospital where they were treated for the effects of breathing in the odourless fumes, dubbed the silent killer.
Miss Gorniak praised her ex-partner saying he saved her life: “I was so confused. To see your baby with an oxygen mask on was very heart-wrenching. I didn’t realise the danger that we were in.”
The young mum, who contracted meningitis 12 months ago, said she was lucky to be alive.
“I never thought that this would happen to me. The fumes were so powerful they knocked me out.”
She has refused to the use the fire at the rented property until the landlord has conducted a full safety check and is urging people to fit carbon monoxide (CO) alarms.
“The fire service were incredible. My son is now fine, but we could have died.”
Mark Pratten, the fire service manager for prevention, said the family had a “very lucky escape.”
He said a closed steel plate, attached to the flue of the Victorian fire place, caused flumes to back up inside the property.
It was the second such incident that crews had dealt with on that day. Two pets died in Bodmin as a result of breathing in CO because of a faulty flue attached to a wood burner, he said.
“Carbon monoxide is potentially fatal and even low levels of the poison can cause lasting damage to your health and cause flu-like symptoms.”
In the past year the county’s fire crews have dealt with 96 CO incidents, with four tragic deaths in St Ives and Camborne.
Mr Pratten added: “Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colourless, odourless, tasteless, poisonous gas produced by incomplete burning of carbon-based fuels, including gas, oil, wood and coal. They need to be properly maintained, chimney’s regularly swept, with adequate ventilation.”