Lifestyle & Human Interest

Quick Thinking 9-Year-Old Saves Father as Carbon Monoxide Fills Home


When a big storm hit the east coast last month, it left people scrambling to find alternate means of power and heat. Generators are a go-to source of power, but they pose a lot of potential issues if used improperly.

One family in Brockton, Massachusetts, thought they were using a borrowed generator properly but almost paid for their mistake with their lives.

After three days without power, on Oct. 28, the Brandão family managed to borrow a generator and say they only ran it for about 10 minutes outside near the back door (a 20-foot minimum distance is suggested). It was very noisy, so they turned it off.

Then they unplugged the machine, took it back in the house and closed the door, not realizing their home was filled with carbon monoxide.

Jayline Barbosa Brandão, 9, was in her bed when she heard her dad suddenly yell and then grow quiet. When she found him, both he and her mom were unconscious.

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“I heard my dad screaming and I went and I saw my mom passed out,” she told WFXT-TV.

The fourth-grader must have been terrified to find her parents comatose, but she knew what to do. She grabbed her dad’s phone to call for help — but it was locked.

“So, I unlocked it by using my dad’s face,” the clever girl explained, referring to the face-recognition technology on some phones.

After dialing 911 and talking to an operator, she took her 7-year-old sister to a neighbor for help.

First responders arrived and got the family to the hospital. The family said the girls and their grandmother, who was also in the house, didn’t seem to be affected by the gas, and the parents are doing better.

When measured, the carbon monoxide reading in their home came in at over 1,000 parts per million — sustained levels over 150 ppm can cause unconsciousness and death, according to the Consumer Products Safety Commission.

According to Brockton Fire Department Chief Brian Nardelli, the Brandãos were one of about 20 cases of carbon monoxide issues they saw after the storm.

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Jayline’s parents know they owe their lives to their resourceful daughter, their own personal hero.

“I thought it was just a headache, then after that, maybe 2-3 minutes, I didn’t feel anything after that,” Brandão’s mother, Marceline, said.

“She was so smart,” she said of Jayline, according to CNN. “That was very scary. If it wasn’t [for] her to call right away I don’t know what would have happened.”

“I wouldn’t be here if she wasn’t in the house.”

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking