North Manheim Township, PA – Officials want people to know about the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning after the death of a North Manheim Township man.

“It could have been prevented,” Schuylkill County Coroner Dr. David J. Moylan III said Monday about the death of Henry G. Kriner who died Nov. 29.

Friends went to check on Kriner when he did not report for work on Nov. 29. Kriner was last seen Nov. 27 at work.

Moylan said toxicology results were returned recently that showed he had elevated levels of carbon monoxide in his blood, at 26 percent.

“At 40 percent, most people are dead,” Moylan said.

He said Kriner had medical problems that could have contributed to his lower resistance to the dangerous, odorless and tasteless poisonous gas. He said how long it takes someone to become ill and possibly die from carbon monoxide poisoning depends on the level of carbon monoxide in the air.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission said about 170 people die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning. Symptoms include headache, fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting, confusion and dizziness.

“He (Kriner) was just breathing it in and he didn’t even know it,” she said.

The Orwigsburg fire department responded to the call, and Kriner was found dead on a couch. The man’s cat, Bowser, was found dead a short time later at the bottom of the cellar steps.

“We probably would not have known,” Schuylkill County Deputy Coroner Debra Detweiler said about the carbon monoxide poisoning from the coal furnace.

She said carbon monoxide levels in the house were at a zero reading, but foot traffic through the house after Kriner was found could have caused the gas to dissipate as fresh air entered the residence. The coal furnace was off, but an inspection found buildup, she said.

Detweiler said the smoke detector in the home didn’t have batteries and there was no carbon monoxide detector.

She said the warmer weather might have people not thinking about making preparations to make sure their heating units are in working order and chimneys are cleaned.

Donald Bainbridge, owner of Bainbridge Chimney Sweep, Tower City, inspected Kriner’s chimney after being called Dec. 2 by Robert Shewokis Fuels Inc. New Philadelphia. Bainbridge said the chimney and the stove pipe were blocked. Upon looking into the chimney, he noticed a buildup of creosote deposits.

“That was a couple years in the making,” he said .

He said in the last two weeks, he has gone on 10 calls involving coal furnaces. People can help protect themselves from carbon monoxide poisoning by having a working smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector. Getting chimneys or other heating mechanisms inspected is also crucial.

Pottsville Fire Chief Todd March said having smoke and carbon monoxide detectors can help save a life since the deadly gas is otherwise undetectable.

“Most times, you don’t even know it’s there,” he said.

The fire department has been on numerous calls for carbon monoxide investigations. If residents suspect carbon monoxide, the best thing they can do is leave the area and call 911. Keep doors and windows closed because proper readings can’t be obtained when a room is ventilated.

Joe Nixon, strategic communications manager for PPL, said people should take precautions to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning and never operate generators indoors or inside enclosed spaces. He also said generators should be properly installed so they function correctly.