A FAMILY have said they are lucky to see Christmas after a gas leak at their home almost cost them their lives.

Jill Russell, her husband David and son Evan were asleep at their home when gas from their multi-purpose woodburner began to leak.

And if it had not been for the barks of their pet Jack Russell, Charlie, she fears that they would have succumbed to the silent killer.

The mother has urged everyone to get carbon monoxide monitors installed in their homes following the incident, which took place during the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Jill said that the possibility of what could have happened shocked her into speaking out.

“It happened at 4am when we were in bed. My husband had heard Charlie barking downstairs and went down to see what was going on,” she explained.

“He had a look around and noticed that Charlie had been sick, so he brought him out of his crate to get it cleaned up. Meanwhile I had woken up with a sore head upstairs.

“While we were cleaning up Charlie’s sick downstairs David started to get a sore head. It was when we returned to bed afterwards and thought about how we could both be feeling so unwell that we realised that it was carbon monoxide.

“The kitchen was full of it and had begun to seep through the closed door to the other rooms in the house and upstairs. We checked in on our youngest son but thankfully it hadn’t reached him yet, but we opened his bedroom window to let the gas out.”

Everyone in the Russell household is now feeling better thanks to their quick reactions - and Jill is of the belief that if it had not been for Charlie’s bark during the night they may not have been alive today.

“I don’t know why he barked but I am so grateful that he did,” she said.

“This has certainly made us aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide. We had only had the woodburner for just over a year but we had never even thought about getting a carbon monoxide monitor.

“Once David was feeling better the next day he went and got one and it is brilliant. It not only alerts you if there is carbon monoxide in the air but also tells you how much there is in the case of a leak.”

She added, “I would urge everyone to go and get a monitor, especially if you have a woodburner as you never know when you might need it.

“They are just like fire alarms, although they only work within a certain distance of where a leak is likely to be. We are going to get another one and put it on the roof upstairs to ensure that this never happens to us again.”