A WNY business owner shares her carbon monoxide poisoning story to warn others

Suzanne Cross never imagined that a big move for her deli business would land her in the hospital with a mysterious illness.

Buffalo, NY – Whether it’s a small party, tailgate, or wedding reception, Suzanne Cross loves to create a beautiful meat and cheese platter.

“It’s just a little hobby, something to do with friends and family,” she said.

Cross first started her deli, A Board Above, from home during the pandemic.

“Then it took off pretty quickly,” she said.

Last year, she opened her first retail store on Orchard Park Road in West Seneca.

“The time has come for us to start growing,” she said.

Suzanne never expected that her big business move would end up in the hospital with a mysterious illness.

“Looking back, I didn’t feel well for a long time. I didn’t feel well at all,” she said.

Months of battling fatigue, fog and headaches culminated over the summer, Suzanne said.

“I woke up one morning and really couldn’t get out of bed,” she said. “I told my husband, you have to take me to the hospital.”

But even there, doctors still couldn’t figure out what was wrong.

“And then on the same day, my employee was working here and she called me and said the carbon monoxide alarm was going off.”

A fire department inspection found the gas was coming from the stove top and convection oven, right where Suzanne usually stood while she was working. Blood tests confirmed her symptoms were caused by carbon monoxide poisoning.

“That’s another scary thing, we have carbon monoxide detectors. It’s not that we don’t have them. They just don’t go off,” she said.

“We thought it was just because of the exhaust fan, and I think that’s why. It wasn’t accumulating in the air enough.”

Suzanne is now back at full-time work after taking time off to recover and repair kitchen equipment. While she’s still processing what she’s going through, she’s trying to spread awareness so it doesn’t happen to others.

“There must be some angels looking after me, because I mean, if we were, if we were using those ovens here every day, it wouldn’t be a good thing.”

For more information on preventing carbon monoxide poisoning and recognizing CDC symptoms, click here.

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