Two Dead in Suspected Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

December 28, 2010|By Peter Hermann, The Baltimore Sun A friend pounded on the door of the second-floor apartment of the Guilford Avenue rowhouse, waiting for the family matriarch to emerge for their daily walk. It was 7:30 Tuesday morning, and when there was no answer, the friend gave up and went on her way. Hours later, police and firefighters responding to a call for people sick on the second and third floors of the three-story red brick house in the 1700 block of Guilford Ave. found two adults dead and three others, including a child, unconscious, apparently the Baltimore area’s latest victims of carbon monoxide poisoning. Fire officials said all five are related. The survivors were rushed to the hyperbaric chamber at Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where authorities said they were in serious condition. Authorities had not released their names or ages Tuesday evening. Autopsies scheduled for Wednesday should reveal an official cause of death. If carbon monoxide poisoning is found to be responsible, they would be the latest in a recent run of casualties to the odorless, colorless gas that that can be found in combustion fumes, as produced by automobiles or faulty heating systems. State officials have counted at least 13 accidental deaths from carbon monoxide this year. Confirmation of the suspected poisonings of two men in Pikesville earlier this month and the two victims on Guilford Avenue on Tuesday would bring the total to 17, the most in the state since 2003, when officials counted 21 accidental deaths. As rescue workers converged on the home shortly after 11 a.m. Tuesday, relatives and friends huddled and cried together outside a church across the street. “They were a loving family,” said friend Collin Knight. He said he last saw them at a Christmas party at a relative’s home, and said the mother volunteered at various children’s centers. “Unbelievable,” was almost all Melissa Briscoe could utter. She lives across the street and saw the family often, though she didn’t know them well. “I saw her friend come over this morning, as she always did, and look for the lady,” Briscoe said. “She knocked and knocked on the door, but when no one came, she left.” Police and other investigators had not found the source of the gas leak by Tuesday evening, though a fire department spokesman said Baltimore Gas and Electric crews were examining virtually any appliance that could produce the gas, including gas driers and water heaters.

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