Wahoo, NE – By Russ Krebs – Tribune Staff

The carbon monoxide deaths of a Saunders County father and son could have been prevented, a fire official said this morning.

Ronald Larsen, 55, and his 18-year-old son, Timothy, were found dead in their home Thursday just north of Wahoo, the Nebraska State Patrol said.

A brother-in-law found their bodies when no one answered the doorbell for a scheduled trip. Timothy Larsen was found on a hallway floor and his father was found in an upstairs bedroom.

The investigation is continuing, but NSP investigators believe carbon monoxide from a faulty furnace is to blame. It was cold in the home when the family awoke Thursday morning and Ronald Larsen turned up the thermostat until the furnace kicked on.

Capt. Jamie Meyer said that is something that should never be done.

“If your furnace isn’t working properly, get someone who’s qualified to check it out,” he said. “You need to know the equipment that’s in your house and don’t be afraid to ask repair people about your furnace.”

He said something as simple as not replacing the filter cover properly could cause a lethal carbon monoxide buildup.

A carbon monoxide detector can be a life saver if a furnace isn’t working properly.

“Even if it costs you $20 or $30, that’s better than someone getting hurt,” Meyer said. “(Carbon monoxide deaths) are much more preventable today than they used to be.”

He said households should have at least one carbon monoxide detector in the hallway by the sleeping area.

“I’d also put one by the furnace and hot water heater because that’s where the carbon monoxide comes from,” Meyer said