Hero neighbor describes Lake City CO scare

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by HEATHER GRAF / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @HeatherGrafK5

KING5.com

Posted on October 31, 2013 at 11:48 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 1 at 6:55 AM

Five of the seven people rushed to the hospital for carbon monoxide exposure on Wednesday are now back at home and recovering.  For the first time, we're hearing from the man credited with saving many of them.

Marty and Karen Corona have lived in their Lake City condo for more than two decades.  They say their neighbors are like part of the family.

On Wednesday, they were worried when they smelled car exhaust from inside their home.  Karen sent Marty outside to investigate.

"I noticed that the garage of the neighbor's was open and I passed by and touched the car and it was hot to the touch," said Marty.

We now know that car had been left running for so long in the underground garage,  it filled the home above with carbon monoxide before finally running out of gas.

"I told my wife that if the car had been running that long, the neighbors might be in trouble," said Marty.

"So I ran upstairs, put my shoes on, knocked on the door, and of course the gentleman was unresponsive," he said.  "And since I have the emergency key, I went inside, and the first thing I did was open the window and door and dragged him outside to get some air."

Marty says the man was not breathing, and he immediately started performing CPR.

Then, Marty went back inside to look for his other neighbor who lives in that unit.  He found him on the back stairs, gasping for air.

Seattle Police are still trying to determine why the car was left running, but Marty believes his elderly neighbor was preparing to leave his home, started his car, and then forgot something inside.  On his way inside, Marty thinks his neighbor fell and hurt himself.

"There was a little blood on his clothing i noticed," said Marty.  "So I don't know, maybe he fell down and couldn't get up, and because the stairs, the way they are, even if he knocked or called for help, nobody inside could hear him." 

By the time Marty found that second neighbor, an officer with the Seattle Police Department had arrived on scene, in response to Karen's 911 call. 

Together, Marty and the officer carried his second neighbor to safety. 

Had it not been for the quick actions of the Coronas, firefighters have said lives might have been lost.  Still, Marty insists they are not heroes.

"Well we're not - we just happened to be there and that's what anybody, any neighborly person would've done for them," he said.

In total, seven people were taken to Virginia Mason to be treated for carbon monoxide exposure.

Only Marty's two elderly neighbors remain in the hospital.  Marty and the police officer both returned to work on Thursday.

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