Merrillville Family Dies of Apparent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
October 17, 2013 — The Merrillville neighborhood where four individuals were found dead inside their home Wednesday evening remained quiet.
Police conducting a welfare check found the victims dead from an apparent carbon monoxide poisoning. A Merrillville Police Department press release states when officers arrived, they found a gas generator in the attached garage with power cords connected to various electronics in the home.
All windows and doors were closed. Indiana Department of Homeland Security spokesman Ian Connor said that is the wrong place for a generator, “They should go outside and they should also be placed away from windows and doors just to prevent any fumes from that generator getting into the home that way.”
The Lake County Coroner identified occupants of the home as 41-year-old Micheal Nichols, 38-year-old Kennetha Purnell, 13-year-old Matthew Nichols and 11-year-old Morgan Nichols.
Mourning the loss of the kids were staff and students in Merrillville Community Schools, where Superintendent Mark Sperling confirmed both kids attended school for quite some time. Matthew was an eighth grade student at Pierce Middle School, and Morgan was in the sixth grade at Merrillville Intermediate School.
Police determined the family was moving into their home off of 70th Avenue and Tyler Street and did not have the power turned on. That gas generator located on the premises is one of many dangers homeowners can face.
Connor said, “Your car, if you’re running it in your garage, if you have a cracked or loose furnace exchanger, a plugged chimney can do this. If you have a gas or wood burning fire place, portable gas heaters, if you use gas for your stove or your oven. It can also produce carbon monoxide.”
While the coroner’s report states the family was discovered dead in the home last night, a newspaper outside the home dates to last Sunday, October 13.
Connor said it is best to have a carbon monoxide detector in your home if any gas electronics exist. The gas is colorless and odorless, but there are symptoms, “The symptoms are similar to a cold or flu. You can also get sleepy.”
By Renetta DuBose