Carbon monoxide tied to pair of Wilsonville deaths

Published 3:53 pm Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Two Wilsonville residents found deceased in a mobile home Dec. 14 died as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning, according to Shelby County Coroner Diana Hawkins.

Shelby County Sheriff’s deputies discovered George Garner, 40, and Michelle Phillips, 35, dead in the Morris Estates mobile home park in Wilsonville at about 3:10 p.m. Dec. 14.

Though the Sheriff’s Department conducted an investigation into the incident, Hawkins later ruled the deaths accidental, and said it was the result of a gas-powered generator.

As colder weather reaches the Southeast, emergency responders typically see a rise in the number of carbon monoxide deaths, according the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The EPA recommends several precautions to limit exposure to dangerous levels of carbon monoxide, including keeping gas appliances properly adjusted, replacing unvented space heaters with vented units, using proper fuel in kerosene heaters and properly ventilating gas stoves.

The agency also recommends opening fireplace flues when burning a fire, ensuring wood stoves meet all EPA emission standards, having professionals inspect central heating systems each year and refraining from idling cars inside a garage.

Dangerous levels of carbon monoxide can quickly build up in enclosed areas when generators are run inside, and can linger in an area for hours after the generator has been turned off, according to the EPA.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission also recommends every residence have a carbon monoxide detector.