A local Red Cross worker wants people to know about the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning. Thursday marked the anniversary of the worst day of her life, when she lost five loved ones to the silent killer.
Every time the weather gets colder, every time the anniversary comes around, Samantha Henry can't help but think of what happened 14 years ago.
"It's hard every year. It seems like it doesn't matter how long it's been, it's hard every year," said Samantha Henry of the American Red Cross.
In 1998, carbon monoxide built up in her sister's home.
"Tina went to sleep that night, the night before, everything was fine," Henry said. "She had a husband and four kids, a dog. The next time she wakes up, they're all gone and their lives are destroyed."
Her sister Tina survived. But her husband, and four children all died.
Henry will never forget the day she saw them being treated by emergency crews.
"'God, take me, take me - and bring them back,' - and that didn't happen," she said.
Henry's sister still faces health and emotional challenges since the tragic deaths.
The sudden loss of five family members prompted Henry to go to work for the Red Cross to help others. Part of her mission is to inform people about the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning.
"With carbon monoxide, it doesn't care what race you are; it doesn't care how much money you make; it doesn't care about any of that," said Samantha Henry, American Red Cross. "It can come in and take your family."
All these years later, Henry can't help but feel robbed of many happy years with her loved ones.
"Would they have gone to the prom, or college, or marriage, kids, kids of their own maybe," she said.
Henry says a carbon monoxide detector is the best protection.
"You take something like this that you can buy for $20 - $30, and that can save your family," she said.
In addition to carbon monoxide detectors, it's best to have regular preventative checks on heating and air systems. And if you suspect a carbon monoxide leak, in most communities, firefighters will come to test to see if there are high levels.