ROXBURY, NJ – Having dealt recently with the death of a senior citizen who succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning, Roxbury police today offered to help elderly and disabled residents check their smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.

The police department said an officer will check the units’ expiration dates, assist with testing them and change their batteries if necessary. “The police will come to your house and climb a ladder to make sure the batteries are good and that the detector is working properly,” said department spokeswoman Jen Dillard. 

People needing the police department's assistance are asked to call (973) 448-2025 to schedule an appointment.

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At 3:46 p.m. on Nov. 24, police received a call about an unresponsive man in a house on Pleasant Hill Road in Succasunna, they said. They determined that the man, Henry Fry, 78, died due to inhaling elevated levels of carbon monoxide (CO), Dillard said.

“Roxbury Township Fire Official Mike Pellek and representatives from New Jersey Natural Gas found a carbon monoxide leak and it originated from an improper functioning furnace,” she added.

Silent But Deadly

In a statement released today, the police department noted that CO “is known as the silent killer,” and said the gas can come from many sources in a building.

“Whether you heat your home with oil, gas, propane, a pellet stove, wood or coal, you very well could have carbon monoxide in your home,” police said. “While having very small amounts is normal, the only way to tell if you have dangerous elevated levels of CO is through detection.”

High levels of the gas can be caused by heating equipment not operating efficiently, improperly installed wood-burning appliances, equipment not being used in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions and blocked or clogged exhaust pipes, police said.

They said people should never burn anything in a stove or fireplace that isn’t properly vented.

Chimneys should be checked or cleaned every year, police said, noting chimneys can become blocked by debris.

Vent pipes should never be patched with tape, gum, etc. and generators should never be used while inside a building, police warned. “If you are using one outdoors, do not place a generator near a window, door, or vent,” they added.

Additionally, they warned that vehicles should never be left idling while inside a garage.

“Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms should be replaced at least every 10 years, but because the public is generally unaware of this standard, many homes have smoke alarms past their expiration date, putting people at increased risk,” the police said. “To find out how old your smoke alarm is, please check the date of manufacturing on the back of it, the alarm should be replaced 10 years from that date. Batteries in smoke and CO detectors should be changed at least twice a year.”

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