CO detectors in dead couple's home had been tampered with


by 13 News

Posted on August 7, 2012 at 7:52 PM

Updated Wednesday, Aug 8 at 8:12 AM

2 dead in Portsmouth

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PORTSMOUTH --The Fire Marshall's office informed the Portsmouth Redevelopment and Housing Authority on Tuesday that the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in the residential unit where a couple died June 21st had been tampered with.

According to the Fire Marshall, the wire cages protecting the detectors had been pried from the wall. Also the wires had been disconnected and the batteries had been removed.

PRHA had installed two new detectors in the unit on May 9th.

Family and friends of Leroy and Inez Stith, both 65 years old, told 13News the couple had experienced some health problems for a prolonged period of time. The issues included breathing trouble, chest pains, and headaches.

"She kept going to the hospital and trying to find out. They would say this, and they would say that, and, then, she come back, and she weren't getting no better," said Yvonne Maddray who lives in the same row of homes at Swanson Homes. Maddray and the Stiths also have a great grandson in common.

"It's such a disaster. It's like a nightmare, a truly nightmare that this happened to such nice people," shared Maddray. "Oh, we were just in, it was sadness all around."

Inez Stith's sister found the couple in the home and rushed to Maddray's to get help.

The building, which contains four apartments, is in the 1700 block of South Street and is owned by Portsmouth Redevelopment and Housing Authority.

The fire department determined there was carbon monoxide in the building, so everyone had to be evacuated.

Crews spent much of  the day checking homes throughout the complex, as well as people who may have been exposed to carbon monoxid