Couple Speaks Out After Nearly Killed By CO

By James Schugel, WCCO-TV

ST. PAUL (WCCO) — Carbon Monoxide nearly killed them.

Now for the first time, Tom and Nancy Nordeen are sharing how they survived.

“We probably should have been dead. My wife was in pretty bad shape, and I was even worse,” Tom said.

Their St. Paul home filled with CO about a year ago. But they believe, they survived for a reason — to warn people about the dangers of CO and the importance of CO detectors.

Birth is often called a miracle.

Nancy got to experience that miracle of life when her ninth grandchild came into the world this fall and it only happened because of another miracle, she believes.

“Once again, I just feel so blessed,” Nancy said. “I call it a miracle.”

She and Tom were overcome with Carbon Monoxide in their own home.

And they say, they had no idea.

Tom got sick and passed out.

Their son was worried when they didn’t show up to a family funeral and went to their home to check on them.

“I just ran up to their bedroom and sure enough, they were there, just completely unconscious,” said Ben Nordeen. “I just ran out of the room, called 911.”

St. Paul firefighters blame the boiler. It malfunctioned. Instead of blowing CO out of the home, it blew it into the basement. The presence of black soot was a clear indicator of that serious problem.

The level of CO in the home was deadly, but there was hope.

“They were treated with 100 percent oxygen,” said Dr. Cheryl Adkinson.

She said she needed to force that CO out, so the couple went into the hyperbaric chamber at Hennepin County Medical Center.

Nancy and Tom survived, though Adkinson admits the odds were against them.

“I feel I’ve been given a second chance,” Tom said.

A chance to witness more milestones with family and enjoy the birth of their new granddaughter Ruthie.

“Well, there’s so much more to experience in life,” Nancy said.

Tom said he wished he would have had his furnace checked to be sure it was working right — that black soot was a sign that something wasn’t right with it.

The couple said there’s no reason for not having a CO detector. They want to make sure everyone has one in their home.

WCCO-TV’s James Schugel Reports

  • Darrell

    This should have never happened. It is a state law to have a CO detector within 10 feet of every bedroom.

  • Judy Wagner

    Darrell. Not just any CO detector. We had three new over the counter and they never sounded once in 9 1/2 months. Reference Mr. Todd Cleary of Cleary Fire Safety Equipment, Rochester, MN. IF you really want to be sure, you want a CO detector that can be calibrated with your Rescue Squad. WCCO-check the story you did about us about 2007 “CO comes from unusual source.” – from the oven of a kitchen gas range.
    Yes, black soot in the reference story is true. Often times one is told there is not black soot, yes, we had that too.

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