‘No One Was Responding’: Victim Describes East CLE CO Leak

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CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Residents of Crystal Tower in East Cleveland were back in their apartments Saturday after a suspected carbon monoxide leak sent a dozen people to the hospital on Friday.

During the evacuation of the building, the body of a woman was found inside.

Angelique Johnson made a 911 call for help that just might have saved more people from being overcome. She had taken her 3-year-old daughter to her mother’s apartment at Crystal Tower in East Cleveland as she normally does before going to work.

But, something was wrong with their normal routine when they all started feeling sick at the same time late Friday morning. First it started with her daughter.

“She started rolling around and saying help me," said Johnson. "I was trying to get her together and help her. I started to feel really warm and kind of like dizzy."

Johnson believes she even passed out.

"Everyone was kind of unresponsive and knocked out. When I came to, I realized no one was responding to me calling their names," she said.

All Johnson remembers after calling 911 was the firefighters dragging them out of the building.

At the hospital, it was determined that they were among 10 adults and two children from Crystal Tower with elevated carbon monoxide levels in their bodies. That triggered a mass evacuation of the entire 24-story building around 4 p.m.

Dorothy Dingwall said smoke detectors alerted residents of the carbon monoxide problem in the building.

"Because that's the silent killer. Nobody knows about that. You just had to get up and get out, “she said.

While firefighters were clearing the building, they found the body of an elderly woman in her first floor apartment. She has been identified as Barbara Kelley, 79. Tests are being done to determine her cause of death.

East Cleveland Fire Chief Rick Wilcox said investigators pinpointed the source of the carbon monoxide leak but are still looking for what caused the problem.

“We have to have technicians come out and do further testing to confirm our findings,” he said.

The building was ventilated and residents were allowed to return to their apartments around 10 p.m. Friday night. The Johnson family is not sure when they will go back.

"I am not comfortable with my mom or my child being in the building until we are very, very sure that this won't be happening again and the building is totally clear,” Johnson said.

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