Carbon monoxide poisoning suspected in Monday's deaths

Troy Sullivan, 31, and Kelli Ashcraft, 22, most likely died of carbon monoxide poisoning Monday, April 3, 2017 according to San Juan County Sheriff Ron Krebs. Toxicology reports which will confirm the cause of death may be available later today. The results could be delayed due to staffing issues at the mainland medical examiner's office used by the county.

The deceased couple was discovered in their Friday Harbor bedroom by a family member Monday morning. 

Sheriff Krebs is recommending residents have carbon monoxide detectors. According to the Center for Disease Control: CO is found in fumes produced any time you burn fuel in cars or trucks, small engines, stoves, lanterns, grills, fireplaces, gas ranges, or furnaces. CO can build up indoors and poison people and animals who breathe it. has information about different kinds of CO detectors and their ratings. 

The majority of homes in the San Juan Islands have wood-burning stoves or fireplaces and many use propane for heating or cooking. Generators used during power failures are another potential source of CO poisoning. 

The following information is from the CDC website

Who is at risk from CO poisoning? Everyone is at risk for CO poisoning. Infants, the elderly, people with chronic heart disease, anemia, or breathing problems are more likely to get sick from CO. Each year, more than 400 Americans die from unintentional CO poisoning not linked to fires, more than 20,000 visit the emergency room, and more than 4,000 are hospitalized. 

How can I prevent CO poisoning in my home?

Install a battery-operated or battery back-up CO detector in your home and check or replace the battery when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall. Place your detector where it will wake you up if it alarms, such as outside your bedroom. Consider buying a detector with a digital readout. This detector can tell you the highest level of CO concentration in your home in addition to alarming. Replace your CO detector every five years.

Have your heating system, water heater, and any other gas, oil, or coal burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year.

Do not use portable flameless chemical heaters indoors.

If you smell an odor from your gas refrigerator have an expert service it. An odor from your gas refrigerator can mean it could be leaking CO.

When you buy gas equipment, buy only equipment carrying the seal of a national testing agency, such as Underwriters’ Laboratories.

Make sure your gas appliances are vented properly. Horizontal vent pipes for appliances, such as a water heater, should go up slightly as they go toward outdoors, as shown below. This prevents CO from leaking if the joints or pipes aren’t fitted tightly.

Have your chimney checked or cleaned every year. Chimneys can be blocked by debris. This can cause CO to build up inside your home or cabin.

Never patch a vent pipe with tape, gum, or something else. This kind of patch can make CO build up in your home, cabin, or camper.

Never use a gas range or oven for heating. Using a gas range or oven for heating can cause a build up of CO inside your home, cabin, or camper.

Never burn charcoal indoors. Burning charcoal - red, gray, black, or white - gives off CO.

Never use a portable gas camp stove indoors. Using a gas camp stove indoors can cause CO to build up inside your home, cabin, or camper.

Never use a generator inside your home, basement, or garage or less than 20 feet from any window, door, or vent.




  • Lukman
    Lukman Tuesday, 25 July 2017 21:58 Comment Link

    I do not believe that there are some families, who do not install carbon monoxide alarm in their homes. Installing the detector is very crucial since carbon monoxide cannot be detector by our senses. Only carbon monoxide detector can do it.
    I hope we could take enough lesson from the tragedy.
    I am very sad with this tragedy.
    Very sorry.

  • Carol DeClercq
    Carol DeClercq Wednesday, 05 April 2017 20:54 Comment Link

    I witnessed exceptional honor 10+ yrs. ago; and was greatly pleased he was my sons best friend. They were brothers under the skin.
    Everyone loved Troy. For those who loved him the most, the deepest heartache.
    Please say a prayer for Troy's parents, and for Shane.

    Thank you,,
    Shane's mom.

  • Cindy Mullis
    Cindy Mullis Wednesday, 05 April 2017 11:48 Comment Link

    I am saddened for all affected by this tragic news. Love to you all.

  • Janet Kline
    Janet Kline Tuesday, 04 April 2017 21:47 Comment Link

    So sad. Tragic way to remind us of the importance of Carbon monoxide detectors. Prayers and condolences to all that knew and loved them.


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