by Katie Orlando

DAVIDSON – Firefighters are reminding residents to protect themselves against a silent killer following a death at a carbon monoxide-filled home.

Ray William Harrington Jr., 62, died at his Harbour Place home March 19.

Harrington’s employer called the police to check on Harrington, and police found Harrington dead with no sign of trauma, forced entry or struggle, according to the police report.

Police and firefighters returned to the house the next day and found high levels of carbon monoxide in Harrington’s home, according to a news release from the town.

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that comes from devices that burn fossil fuels like gas ranges, grills and cars. Carbon monoxide prevents the body from carrying oxygen, according to Mecklenburg County’s information website. Early signs of exposure include headache, nausea, vomiting and flu-like symptoms.

Police and firefighters determined that a 2011 model car, operated by a remote starter parked in the garage of the three-story unit was the source of the gas.

The death is still under investigation, and medical examiners are still testing for the levels of carbon monoxide that may have killed Harrington, Davidson Fire Department Public Information Officer Dion Burleson said.

Carbon monoxide detectors are more commonly installed in new homes, Burleson said. Detectors, like smoke alarms, have a life-span of 10 years.

Carbon monoxide and smoke detector batteries should be checked twice a year at daylight savings time, Burleson said.

Burleson advises against taping or painting over detectors, because that can prevent gasses from getting in.

If a carbon monoxide detector goes off, residents should get themselves, their loved ones and pets immediately out of the house. Once safely outside, call 911. The fire department will come check carbon monoxide levels with gas monitors.

“Do not open any windows. Do not leave any doors open,” Burleson said.

If carbon monoxide is aired out before firefighters can detect it, the chances of repeat incidents without detection are much greater.

Want to learn more?

Find more information about carbon monoxide safety at Mecklenburg County’s information website, www.carbonmonoxide1.com.