Two Va. Men Killed by Carbon Monoxide

The house was being powered by generators.


June 07--Two men found dead in a Spotsylvania County home earlier this week died from carbon monoxide poisoning, authorities said.

According to Sheriff's Capt. Troy Skebo, deputies were sent to the 2100 block of Kaiser Drive shortly before 11 a.m. Monday after the department received a report about two dead men inside a home there.

When one of the men did not report to work, a few of his co-workers went to the home to check on him, Skebo said. One of the co-workers broke out a window to enter the house and found the bodies in a bedroom, he said.

Spotsylvania detectives, with help from firefighters, ventilated the home so it would be safe to enter, Skebo said.

The men were positively identified as 55-year-old John T. Johnson, who had rented the house, and 45-year-old Carlton T. Smith, both of Spotsylvania.

An investigation revealed that power to the house had been turned off for unknown reasons and it was being powered by two generators, Skebo said. He said the placement of the generators did not allow for proper ventilation and caused a build up of carbon monoxide in the home.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner determined that the men died from asphyxia by carbon monoxide inhalation. The deaths were ruled accidental.

"This is a tragic event and our thoughts and prayers go out to the families," Skebo said.

In tips for preventing carbon-monoxide poisoning, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cautions against using generators, charcoal grills, camp stoves or other gasoline or charcoal-burning device inside homes, basements, garages or near a window.

Other tips include:

Have heating systems, water heaters and any other gas, oil, or coal burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year.

Install a battery-operated or battery back-up carbon-monoxide detector in your home and check or replace the battery when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall. If the detector sounds leave your home immediately and call 911.

Seek medical attention if you suspect carbon-monoxide poisoning and are feeling dizzy, light-headed, or nauseous.

Don't run a car or truck inside a garage attached to your house, even if you leave the door open.

Don't heat your house with a gas oven or burn anything in a stove or fireplace that isn't vented.

Portsia Smith: 540/374-5419

psmith@fredericksburg.com

Copyright 2014 - The Free Lance-Star, Fredericksburg, Va.