Douglas, MI – By Jim Harger, The Grand Rapids Press

Investigators blamed Saturday’s death of a 46-year-old resident on carbon monoxide from a portable generator that had been running in a basement for two days.

Randall Scott Race was using a gasoline-powered device for power and heat in his home, 486 Union St., after Consumers Energy shut off his electricity for non-payment, said Officer Mark Lytle, of the Saugatuck Douglas Police Department.

Deborah Lee Pitcher, 40, who also lived at the home, was taken to Holland Community Hospital. She was listed in stable condition with carbon monoxide poisoning late Saturday.

Paramedics were called to the home shortly after 1 p.m., when Pitcher returned from an errand and found Race face down on his bed.

The generator ran in the basement with the door closed since Thursday, Lytle said. Race was renting the house from his mother, he said.

Eleanor Race said her son was recently laid off from Signature Construction. She said she was not aware his electricity had been cut off.Pitcher’s three children, who also lived there, were not at home when the tragedy occurred, she said.

Earlier this year, the Consumer Product Safety Commission reported gasoline powered generators and improper ventilation are a growing cause of carbon monoxide deaths.

The commission reported 40 deaths in 2003 from carbon monoxide poisoning and 30 in 2002.