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Two identified in suspected carbon monoxide poisoning outside LaPorte


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Authorities are investigating the deaths of a man and his wife from suspected carbon monoxide poisoning outside LaPorte.

The bodies were discovered Thursday inside the couple’s home on 350 North near 50 West in Center Township.

LaPorte County Coroner Lynn Swanson identified the victims as Harrison Russell, 60, Barbara Russell, 56.

She said an official cause of death was awaiting the results of a toxicology test to determine if high levels of carbon monoxide were in their systems as suspected.

A third person found alive was taken from the residence in a medical helicopter.

Levels of 200 parts per million inside the home were reported by firefighters using devices measuring carbon monoxide.

Center Township Trustee Lisa Pierzakowski said the township fire department will not release any information until the results of the toxicology test are known.

In general, LaPorte Fire Chief Andy Snyder said levels of carbon monoxide, which has no color or smell, become a major concern starting at 35 parts per million or less.

He said exposure to such levels over a several hour period can result in symptoms like headache, vomiting, confusion and, eventually, death.

“That’s why it’s extremely important for everyone to have at least one carbon monoxide detector in their home,” Snyder said.

Carbon monoxide gets into a home from some sort of defect in a fossil fuel burning appliance like a furnace, hot water heater and clothes dryer.

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Carbon monoxide can also filter into a home from motor vehicles left running inside an attached garage.

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