Four deaths in Merrillville Oct. 12, apparently from carbon monoxide poisoning, brought tears to the eyes of even people who didn't know the family.
Kennetha Purnell, 38, her husband, Micheal Nichols, 41, and their two children, Matthew Nichols, 13, and Morgan Nichols, 11, had just moved into their rental home in Merrillville and likely died sometime that night, police said.
The bodies were discovered after family members hadn't heard from them for several days.
Police Cmdr. Jeff Rice said it appears a generator in the home's garage was the source of the carbon monoxide. The home did not yet have power. Several electronic devices were hooked up to the generator, and all of the home's windows and doors were closed.
This is a story of tragedy heaped upon tragedy.
Their deaths should serve as a grim reminder of the need to have working carbon monoxide detectors in every home.
Along with that, the National Fire Protection Association offers safety tips everyone should remember, especially in winter when buildings get sealed up to keep out the cold.
A generator should be used in a well-ventilated location outdoors away from windows, doors and vent openings.
Generators aren't the only culprits, though. Faulty heating systems, stoves and ovens can also generate carbon monoxide.
Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless, colorless gas created by inadequate combustion. That's why carbon monoxide detectors are so important.
In Illinois, state law requires working carbon monoxide detectors within 15 feet of every bedroom.
Indiana does not yet have such a law, but it should.
Carbon monoxide detectors, installed and maintained properly, save lives.
This tragedy in Merrillville should prompt Indiana lawmakers to require the use of these life-saving tools in every home.