Three Durham Infants Did Not Die From Carbon Monoxide, Says State Medical Examiner

Jan 9, 2020

More than 250 Durham families have been moved from McDougald Terrace public housing over carbon monoxide levels. Google Maps image captured in 2017.
Credit Google Maps

Preliminary results show carbon monoxide was not a factor in the deaths of three infants at or near a public housing complex in Durham.  

The report from the state's chief medical examiner says the two infants at McDougald Terrace and one who lived nearby tested negative for carbon monoxide poisoning.

The Durham Housing Authority has found elevated levels of carbon monoxide in about a third of the McDougald Terrace units that it's checked so far. Appliances like stoves, furnaces and water heaters were emitting the gas.

The agency's chief executive Anthony Scott said Thursday that the families living in those units have been asked to evacuate.

“Our number one priority is to make sure that those units are safe before they come back. So that's what our focus is and why we wanted to first move people out,” said Scott. “And as we're finding these other issues that are related to elevated CO levels, then we're saying, 'You need to go, for your family's safety.'”

Scott says there are now 256 families living in hotels. It's not clear when they will be able to return.

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services said the medical examiner's office "will continue to work to determine the cause of death" and that the state division of public health will "provide technical assistance to local officials as they continue their investigation."