Dog credited with saving family from carbon monoxide leak

A close call with silent killer

BRISTOL, Va. - A local family is recovering after a close call with silent killer.

Six people were taken to the hospital after deadly carbon monoxide gas seeped into their home. The family was asleep and had no idea they were being poisoned.

As they slept, a series of very fortunate events saved them, and it all started with the family dog.

Buster Brown is Michael Carr's best friend and family pet; now he's a hero as well.

Carr tells News 5 he'd just moved into his home on New Hampshire Avenue on July 3 and the power had not yet been turned on. They improvised to cool down the home with an air conditioning unit. "We used a generator to have some power. We decided to put it in the basement so no one would steal it," said Carr.

Little did he know that could have been a fatal act.

Thursday evening he and his dog had gone to bed, but around 2 a.m. Buster started to act strange. "He climbed up on top of my head, sat down on my face and I was trying to get him off into the bed. He fell off and he was just useless, like he was drunk," said Carr. "I thought he'd been poisoned, eaten some rat poison or something."

He tells us his girlfriend left the home to get milk. "She made it right back here and that's where she fell on the steps," said Carr.

Carr says she was lifeless. That's when he began looking for help and found it coming up the street. "There was a life-saving crew that was coming up the road that wasn't even coming here. It was going over to Brother Road and I stopped them," said Carr.

After some investigating, crews discovered carbon monoxide in the home that was slowly poisoning the family -- and it was coming from that generator in the basement.

Carr says he thought someone else staying there would turn it off before going to sleep, but six hours later the generator was still running. "If it hadn't been for Buster we would have been right on down to the end of time," said Carr.

Buster Brown is now more than just Carr's best friend, he's his hero. "Things work in mysterious ways I guess, sometimes for the good, sometimes they're bad. [This] happened for the good," said Carr.

We learned everyone who was inside the home returned safely.

As for Buster Brown, Carr says the family will be eternally grateful to him for saving their lives.

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