“Police have closed the investigation into the carbon monoxide deaths of seven Moorhead residents following blood results indicating the source of poisoning was the home’s furnace, according to Moorhead police Capt. Deric Swenson.
Authorities quickly ruled out trauma as a cause of death when the seven relatives were found dead in their rented duplex on Dec. 18, and preliminary blood tests found high levels of carbon monoxide in the victims’ bodies.
The two possible sources of carbon monoxide in the home were a van in the garage and the unit’s furnace. Further blood tests did not show the presence of blood cyanide, which would have indicated the vehicle was the source.
The victims were Belin Hernandez, 37, and Marleny Pinto Orellana, 34, their children 16-year-old Breylin, 7-year-old Mike and 5-year-old Marbely Hernandez Pinto; Belin’s brother Elder Noe Hernandez, 37, and the couple’s niece, Mariela Pinto Orellana, 19. Funeral services were Jan. 14 for five of the relatives; services for brothers Belin and Elder were expected to be held in Honduras once their bodies were sent home at the request of their mother.”
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Immigrants from Honduras, the family was beloved by their community and neighbors. There was a carbon monoxide detector installed but it was detached from the wall and the battery removed. As tenants, the responsibility of maintaining the device was with the occupants. This tragedy serves as a sad reminder of the importance of carbon monoxide detectors and regular inspection of furnaces.
At Team Mechanical we perform routine safety inspections of furnaces to residents in the Twin Cities area. Such inspections should happen once a year. If you’re concerned about your furnace call us at 612-729-5646 to schedule an appointment.