If you just assume that nothing ever threatens your life, and all you have to do is take care of whatever discomfort threatens you, Nemesis may have a terrible surprise in store for you.
It only took 20 minutes for Felix Bonilla’s whole family to receive a fatal dose of carbon monoxide, as he worked to shovel the family Mazda out of a snowbank last month.
Inside a snow and iced packed car in Passaic, New Jersey a mother, 23-year-old Sashalynn Rosa, and her one-year-old, Messiah took their last breaths as carbon monoxide filled their vehicle.
“It’s hard to lose them like that,” says boy’s grandfather, Felix Bonilla.
His son, Felix Bonilla, Jr. had been digging out the family’s car Saturday night while his girlfriend and their two children sat inside to stay warm. With the car’s engine on, and its tail pipe clogged by snow, the odorless, invisible gas seeped into the car in minutes, killing the mother and her baby boy. The little girl also unconscious, was kept alive by paramedics and a bystander who was not afraid to get involved.
“I tried to help the girl, and I put my mouth in. Girls and paramedics worked so hard, so hard to save the kid,” said eyewitness Isabel Carmona.
The little girl, Saniyah remained in very critical condition at a hospital in Paterson on Monday.
Her grandfather is hanging on to a thread of hope she may survive.
“The doctors say they don’t think she’s going to make it. Doctor says she has a slight chance to make it,” says Bonilla.
Friends say the father, when not working at his job at a restaurant depot, spent all his time with his children. Eyewitness News told he’s been by his surviving child’s bedside ever since the tragedy. His father says his son is devastated.
The news got worse for Bonilla. The three-year-old girl who was alive had irreversible brain damage and brain function never returned after several days on mechanical life support. In the end, she, too, was pronounced dead.
Carbon monoxide is an insidious threat. It is colorless and odorless, and for reasons of fundamental chemistry, forms a more attractive bonding partner with red blood cells than elemental oxygen. The result is death by oxygen deprivation; it is not an agonizing or painful death; the victim slips off, first into a sleep from which he or she can recover, and then to that sleep from which there is no return.
There is not much good to be found in this tragedy, but the victims did not suffer; and they can serve as a lesson to the rest of us. Inside the warm car is not the best place to be in heavy snow.