Newport officials say tragic Thanksgiving deaths could have been prevented

Posted 11-28-03 at 7:00 PM

NEWPORT, AR — Newport officials say the tragic deaths of of 81 year old Jess Eliot and 63 year old Edna Barnett's deaths could have possibly been avoided if Eliot's home had have been equiped with a Carbon Monoxide Detector.

Authorities say they were called to Eliot's home after Eliot and Barnett failed to show for Thanksgiving dinner.  Relatives say they went to Eliot's home where they could smell gas.  Police say they entered the home.  Quickly finding both victims dead.

Police say carbon monoxide levels were so high they had trouble staying in the home.  When detection equipment was finally brought in they say levels were reaching 400 parts per million.  Officials say anything over 200 parts per million is reaching critical levels.

A quick search through local stores revealed carbon monoxide detectors can be bought for as low as thirty dollars.  Many models plug right in to a regular electirical socket, making instalation a breeze.

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that can be deadly at high levels.  Levels usually peak in the winter months due to heater and furnace use.  Carbon monoxide can come from a car's exhaust, household appliances, and gas heaters.

There are several things a family can do in order to make sure carbon monoxide does not build up in a home.  A pamphlet at the Newport Fire Department says you need to check all vents leaving a home for blockages,  also check the chimney,  and open up windows when the weather permits.