Sterling, MA – An elderly man in Sterling is recovering after he was exposed to carbon monoxide. A neighbor called 911 for help just in time.

“He says, ‘I am not in a good way,’” said Teresa Favreau of her conversation with her neighbor.

If you have your choice of neighbors, Teresa Favreau would likely jump to the top of the list.

“He always knows I will go up when he doesn’t feel well,” said Favreau.

That’s what the retired nurse did when her neighbor, who is in his early 80’s, called and was slurring his words.

“I kept thinking it was a stroke,” said Favreau.

When Sterling firefighters arrived they found carbon monoxide levels so high they had to put on breathing masks before entering.

“You’re talking unconsciousness in matter of 20 minutes and death a matter of 30 to 40 minutes,” said Erik Ares, Sterling paramedic/firefighter.

Ares was one of the first responders.

“He had a riding type lawnmower in his basement where he has a workshop. He’s apparently hard of hearing and forget that he had it running,” said Ares.

There are carbon monoxide detectors in the house, but they were not working. It wasn’t until firefighters arrived that they realized CO was the problem.

“It’s carbon monoxide we have to get out,” said Favreau relaying what firefighters said.

Firefighters tested Teresa’s CO level and for the short amount of time she was inside, her carbon monoxide level was high enough for concern.

“They told me to be careful,” said Favreau.

Doctors are optimistic about her neighbor’s recovery. “He told the nurse, ‘this is the one I called and she came and she was able to call police,’” said Favreau.

Thanks in large part to Teresa, her neighbor is already well enough to ask to come home. It’s a home that friends have now outfitted with working CO detectors.