Family's warning after teen's tragic death from CO poisoning at Thanksgiving

A 17-year-old girl from Delano died after Thanksgiving due to carbon monoxide poisoning.
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A Minnesota family is urging people to check their carbon monoxide detectors in their home after 17-year-old Jenna Fish died of carbon monoxide poisoning. 

Jenna, of Delano, died on Nov. 27, according to her obituary. Her family told KSTP she died of carbon monoxide poisoning after a family gathering for Thanksgiving with her mom, brother and grandmother. 

She ended up sleeping in the basement because her dog was snoring too loudly, KSTP said. And when the family woke up around 7 a.m. the next day, they were all sick from carbon monoxide, but Jenna had died. 

"Although the loss of Jenna Grace is a tragedy, her life can serve as a bright light for those who knew her," her obituary says. "Upon reading this tribute, we ask you to check the carbon monoxide levels and install carbon monoxide detectors on all levels of your home."

The family had detectors installed and they were recently checked, but none of them went off, KSTP reported. Multiple agencies are investigating what happened. 

Meanwhile, Jenna is being remembered as "affectionate, brilliant, bright, cheerful, hard-working, witty, generous, and thoughtful," her obituary said, adding: 

"Jenna loved strong hot coffee, cute shoes, baby animals, and bargains. She spent her time reminiscing and laughing with her family, going on 'date nights' with her big brother Kaleb, hanging out with her special friend William, gardening, playing the piano, and working at both the local Kwik Trip and LuceLine Orchard."

While working at LuceLine Orchard in Watertown, she "let her light shine for others," her obituary read, noting she was treated like family and found joy in her work. 

In a statement to Bring Me The News, Terri Traen of LuceLine Orchards said: 

"When Jenna first started working at the orchard she was a quiet, shy young girl who blossomed into an outgoing fun loving young woman in the years she worked here. Jenna and her brother Kaleb were taught how to work and respect others. Which is a reflection of their mother Rachel. Jenna would volunteer to do any job out here even cleaning the bathrooms. No job was beneath her. She always wanted a puppy and the last thing she did shortly before she passed away was hold our new little golden retriever puppy. She was well loved out here and made many friends."

A memorial service for Jenna will be held at LuceLine Orchards on March 2, which would have been her 18th birthday, Traen said. 

"She will be remembered by those who love and admire her for her kind-hearted compassion for others, both her inner and outer beauty, her high standards, and her dedication to both her family and Christ in whom she placed her faith," her obituary adds. 

CO poisoning 

Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless and tasteless gas that's formed by the incomplete combustion of fuels, which can build up indoors and there's no way to detect a problem until you become sick (unless you have a working CO detector), the Minnesota Department of Health's (MDH) website says.

When people are exposed to CO gas, the molecules displace the oxygen in their bodies, which leads to poisoning. It's estimated that about 400 people die from unintentional CO exposure in the U.S. every year, with about 14 people in Minnesota dying from it a year

MDH says CO poisoning can be prevented by installing a CO alarm and maintaining fuel-burning appliances, such as clothes dryers, water heaters, furnaces/boilers, gas and wood fireplaces, gas stoves and ovens, motor vehicles, grills, generators, power tools, lawn equipment, wood stoves and tobacco smoke. 

For more information, visit the MDH's website on carbon monoxide here

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