Parris Charles Flowers had a lot of people to thank for his survival after an electrical fire at his assisted living apartment on Wilmington Street in Houston on November 1. First there were the firefighters who found the unconscious man and then the decision to use Cyanokit to help rid his body of cyanide. HFD used a reunion between Flowers and his rescuers earlier today to promote the department’s use of Cyanokit, now carried in every chief’s or supervisor’s vehicle. Cyanokit is also being credited with saving the lives of two Houston firefighters.
“Next thing I remember…it was three weeks later,” Flowers said Friday, surrounded by the firefighters from Stations 46 and 55 who saved his life.
The antidote, called Cyanokit, is an emergency treatment administered intravenously to flush and remove inhaled, ingested, or dermal exposure to cyanide. Burning plastics and furniture can emit dangerous levels of the poison that prevents cells from using oxygen. Cyanokit, manufactured by King Pharmaceuticals, is an antidote that bonds with the poison and alters it to cyanocobalamin (a form of vitamin B-12), which is flushed out of victim’s body through their urine.
Medical experts say the side effect is that the urine will temporarily turn purple.
“Oh, there’s no question he would have died,” said HFD Captain Maurice Davis. “There’s no question.”
HFD Sr. Captain Nathan Snowden concurs.
“It definitely made a difference in saving Mr. Flowers life,” he said.