The medical examiner says a couple died from carbon monoxide exposure in the Swanson neighborhood of Portsmouth. Theirs was not the only home with the potentially deadly gas in the air.
The fire department says 57 tenants had some level of carbon monoxide exposure. 15 others had water heaters and oven ranges giving off some level of CO. And 28 units had elevated levels of CO in the air.
“I think we should have more up to date checking of that. I think so,” says Willis Coppedge, a Swanson resident.
The Portsmouth Redevelopment and Housing Authority, as well as the fire department, tested her apartment.
“They came in with a little stick or something and went behind my stove,” she says. “And they checked my utility closet where my heating vent is. They said I was okay.”
Even though she says her carbon monoxide detector has gone off, she didn’t know that’s what it was until yesterday’s visit.
“He said carbon monoxide goes beep, beep, beep, beep. And I told him I did have a beep, beep, beep, beep. Me and my granddaughter that lives with me, and I kept saying why is this alarm going beep, beep, beep, beep,” she says.
“I think a lot of people don’t know what they’re supposed to do when it goes off, so that’s why we’re here, to provide that information for them. Also to give them information on symptoms, just in case they have any kind of CO poisoning,” says Anna Silva with the Portsmouth Fire Department.
And today the fire department was back in the neighborhood to hand out these booklets with information on what carbon monoxide is and how to recognize exposure.
After all, dozens of the apartments here did show elevated levels of the gas. It’s what claimed the lives of a couple in their home yesterday.