On 8/28/15 the Mesquite Police Department was asked to conduct a welfare check on an elderly person at a local residence. Officers were able to make entry into the residence and found the person deceased in a bedroom. While inside the residence, officers could smell an abnormal chemical odor but could not determine its source. The Mesquite Fire Department was called to the scene and they were able to detect high levels of carbon monoxide inside the home, as well as the adjacent residence. The police officers on scene were tested and were also found to have been exposed to dangerous levels of carbon monoxide. The officers were medically evaluated and treated on scene.
To ensure the safety of neighbors, three residences had to be evacuated to allow the carbon monoxide to ventilate and dissipate. The Clark County Coroner was called to the scene to investigate the death, while the officers investigated the source of the carbon monoxide. Officers were able to determine the high levels of carbon monoxide were produced by a vehicle which was parked inside the garage. The vehicle had been idling with the garage door closed for an undetermined amount of time. The vehicle keys had a remote start button and were located inside the home. The official cause of death of the elderly person will be determined and released by the Clark County Coroners Office once their investigation is complete. It is unknown at this time if the carbon monoxide had played a role in the elderly person’s death.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports on their website that there is an average of 430 deaths per year caused from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning. There is also a danger of vehicles accidentally being turned on while parked in a garage. This can occur by the remote start button being accidentally pushed or by children playing with the keys. The Mesquite Police Department would like to take this opportunity to remind citizens of how dangerous it is to leave a vehicle running inside a garage with the garage door closed. It is also a good idea to install carbon monoxide detectors inside your home and replace the batteries regularly.