NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KETK) – Investigators in Nacogdoches County released the identifies of the three people killed by carbon monoxide poisoning on Saturday after losing power during the winter storm.
The victims were 63-year-old Deborah Wright, 60-year-old James Harkness Jr., and 42-year-old Richard Woodard. Wright and Harkness Jr. were from Nacogdoches and Woodward was from Mt. Enterprise.
They were found in a home on County Road 4081 in an area known as the Melrose community.
Authorities said that they were operating a portable gas generator on the front porch and that the exhaust pipe was “very close to the residence.”
The investigation by county deputies and the Texas Rangers revealed that the “exhaust pipe from the generator had melted a hole in the siding” of the home and allowed carbon monoxide to fill it.
“Generators produce a lot of heat, especially off of the exhaust. The exhaust was too close to the wood on the house and burned a hole through the siding and eventually started putting carbon monoxide inside the house.”Nacogdoches County Sheriff Jeff Bridges
Bridges reminded people that carbon monoxide is a very poisonous gas.
“It has no smell or taste, and it’s a silent but deadly killer,” he said.
Bridges also recommends that people keep their generator at least 15 feet away from their home and put it in an area that is properly ventilated.
Other items besides generators can produce carbon monoxide, so it’s a good idea to invest in a carbon monoxide detector.
They work like a smoke alarm, and go off when unsafe levels of the gas are found.
The detectors can be found for as little as $10, which is a small price to pay for saving a life.