Pregnant woman rushed to hospital following carbon monoxide leak in Albuquerque apartment

Local News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – An expectant Albuquerque mother living at the Casa Bonita Apartments was rushed to the hospital with carbon monoxide poisoning and she is not the only person who needed treatment.

“If I went to bed, me and my child might not have woken up,” said Destanie Mendoza, a first-time mom. Mendoza knew it wasn’t only her growing baby boy making her dizzy and nauseous.

“When I say dizzy I don’t mean like casually dizzy, like very dizzy, almost hallucinogenic,” said Mendoza. She says she repeatedly asked her apartment, Casa Bonita on Montgomery and Carlisle, to check all of the appliances in her unit.

“This is about the sixth time I’ve actually reported it,” said Mendoza. She believed there was some kind of gas leak that was making her so sick.

“They said this was fine and obviously it’s not fine,” said Mendoza as she points to a gaping hole in the vent of her furnace and hot water heater. Mendoza finally called in the experts, with the New Mexico Gas Company, on Tuesday night.

“He {NM Gas employee} actually told me to my face, “I’m surprised you’re not dead.” Hearing those words were very shocking considering I’m pregnant and this is my first pregnancy,” said Mendoza.

Mendoza was rushed to the hospital and test results show she had high levels of carbon monoxide in her blood. The New Mexico Gas Company confirms a broken vent on the water heater and furnace was broken, spewing carbon monoxide right into Mendoza’s apartment.

The NM Gas Company’s only job at this apartment is to keep the property safe, which is why the water heater and furnace were shut down and red-tagged. It is Casa Bonita’s responsibility to make repairs to the equipment.

Mendoza says her sister also went to the hospital, where doctors found carbon monoxide in her system as well. “The New Mexico Gas Company said the apartment above me was probably experiencing more carbon monoxide leak than I was because carbon monoxide does rise,” said Mendoza.

Off-camera, KRQE News 13 went with Mendoza to talk to her upstairs neighbor, who is also pregnant. The neighbor said Casa Bonita did not even notify her of the carbon monoxide leak below her. She is now, too, going to the hospital for testing.

“Oh yeah, it’s scary,” said Mendoza. If it weren’t for family, Mendoza would be on the streets. Her apartment is not safe to live in until Casa Bonita fixes the leak.

“They didn’t offer to help me with a hotel,” said Mendoza. However, even when it is fixed, Mendoza plans to find a new, safe place to live for her and her baby.

“They didn’t even show the slightest bit of remorse,” said Mendoza. Mendoza says due to the exposure to carbon monoxide, she has to undergo genetic testing to make sure there are no prenatal defects to her baby.

Casa Bonita declined our request for an interview, only saying, “No comment.”

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