Suburban Heroes: Lincolnshire couple saved teens' lives during gas leak at pool

Lincolnshire resident Ken Anderson didn't set out to be a hero that fateful Thursday in May.

He didn't even want to go to the swimming pool. But his wife, Alicia, insisted.

"She coaxed me out of my easy chair and down to the pool," the retired Deerfield police officer recalled.

It was that trip that led the Andersons to help rescue two teens who had been overcome by carbon monoxide fumes nearby.

The emergency occurred May 23 at the Village Green Condominiums, where the Andersons live. The pool had just opened for the summer season.

The Andersons were getting ready to go back home when a 17-year-old boy came out of the clubhouse and said his friend was in trouble inside.

Alicia Anderson peeked inside and saw a 16-year-old girl unconscious on the floor. Soon after, the boy vomited and collapsed.

"He said, 'I'm not feeling well, either,'" Alicia said.

"It happened so quick," Ken Anderson added. "They didn't even know what was happening."

Alicia called 911 and then handed her phone to Ken so she could let an ambulance into the gated complex. Ken rolled the boy onto his side to prevent choking.

Firefighters arrived and discovered the level of carbon monoxide in the air was high. They declared the situation a hazardous-materials emergency, prompting assistance from many area fire departments.

Officials later traced the leak to malfunctioning pool equipment in the maintenance room.

The teens were taken to Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, and treated and released later that day.

The Andersons, six police officers and four firefighters also were taken to hospitals to be treated for exposure to the gas.

If the Andersons hadn't been at the pool to help, both teens likely would've succumbed to the gas, police said.

"Mr. and Mrs. Anderson were in the perfect place at the right time," police Cmdr. Jamie Watson said.

Watson, Lincolnshire Mayor Elizabeth Brandt and other village officials honored the Andersons for their heroic efforts at last week's village board meeting. The couple received a commemorative plaque from Brandt, too.

"We're so grateful that you were there and responded so quickly," Brandt told the couple.

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  Hayden Sala, 8, of Geneva, is amazed at the plaque her grandmother, Alicia Anderson of Lincolnshire, received after she and her husband, Ken, were honored by Lincolnshire officials last week for their efforts to save two teens overcome by carbon monoxide fumes. Mark Welsh/
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