Homeless men return to shelter after gas leak

Autopsy to determine if carbon monoxide killed man

CATONSVILLE, Md. - After receiving the 'all clear', men began filing back into the Westside Men's Shelter in Catonsville---a day after a gas leak and a resident turned up dead in his dorm room.
    
A man we spoke with, who did not wish to be identified, claimed he was the one who found the body.

"I was in the same dorm that the unfortunate gentleman passed on us and he was a new resident and I was kind of becoming friends with him.  I kind of tapped on him to see what was going on and I knew he had passed."
    
Once workers completed repairs on a faulty water heater and the building had been aired out, residents began filing back in on Monday, just over 24 hours after paramedics responding to a report of a cardiac arrest at the facility had discovered evidence of the silent killer.

"When the first engine unit went to go into the building, the gas meters that all of our personnel carry immediately began going off telling us that there was some kind of a problem," Elise Armacost of the Baltimore County Fire Department told us at the scene on Sunday.
    
While the cause of death remains a mystery for now, the Director of Communications for the County Executive's Office, Stacie Burgess, has issued a written statement, pointing to low levels of carbon monoxide found in the victim's room.
    
It reads, "The level of carbon monoxide was found to be 4 parts per million, and the industry standard is that up to 9 parts per million is acceptable."
    
The victim's friend says he never noticed any health problems leading up to his death.

“Based on the few weeks that I was acquainted with him and taking him up to the store,” said the man, “His physical abilities were pretty much intact."
    
And based on the leak detected on Sunday, the same man says he and the dozens of others living in the shelter may have been lucky that they didn't suffer a similar fate.

"I pray to whatever higher power that we're all not passed," he added.

The county says an autopsy will determine what caused the man's death.
    
At this point, we do not know if the shelter was outfitted with carbon monoxide detectors and why it took emergency personnel answering a call for service to first discover the presence of the gas.
 

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