by TONY BURBECK / NewsChannel 36
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A 5-year-old girl is credited with saving the lives of 10 people from potentially lethal carbon monoxide poisoning.
Rudra Kuikel calls his daughter Dikshya a hero. He says if she didn't wake up around 3 a.m. Monday to go to the bathroom, the entire family and their next door neighbors might be dead.
Kuikel says he saw his wife and daughter dizzy and struggling to stand in the bathroom.
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"When I saw the other members collapsing one by one, falling one by one, I thought there must be something serious going on," Kuikel said.
Firefighters say the carbon monoxide levels in the apartment were lethal.
"Had they not called 911 or asked for our assistance, it could have been a tragic situation," said Capt. Rob Brisley with the Charlotte Fire Department.
Firefighters say the carbon monoxide came from a faulty wall heating unit in their apartment.
There is a smoke detector on the wall and a spot on the wall where Kuikel thought was a carbon monoxide detector. It was taken down and checked after the poisoning.
"I thought that they were perfect, but they didn't give the signal last night," Kuikel said.
The Charlotte Fire Department says the Kuikels didn't have a carbon monoxide detector as they thought.
"No carbon monoxide alarms were present and that's a challenge. We know that everybody should have a carbon monoxide and a smoke alarm," Brisley said.
It's a code violation for apartments that don't have carbon monoxide detectors.
Birchcroft Apartment management isn't talking, but code enforcement says it's working with them to fix this. Apartments have 24 hours to fix problems that are considered life-threatening.
Back home, the gravity of what could have happened if Dikshya didn't wake up to go to the bathroom sinks in.
"That means everybody would have lost their life, I think," Kuikel said.
All 10 people treated for the poisoning are expected to be OK.
See video at Channel 36.