2 kids recovering after CO poisoning; Duluth fifth-graders respond with detector program

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As two children continue to recover from the high levels of carbon monoxide in their home that killed their father and sister, a group of fifth-graders in Duluth has started a program to try and prevent a similar tragedy from happening again.

"During a local recent tragedy a father and a daughter died and I kind of knew the girl really well, she was from my old school" Bryanna Kliegle told Northland's NewsCenter, "and I want to try to stop and help prevent it from happening again, even if I do just save one life, it's for the better."

Last week, 11-year-old Charlene Mechley and 39-year-old Michael Mechley were found dead in the travel trailer they were living in just outside of Duluth. Noah, 14, and Karley Mechley, 15, were hospitalized, but are expected to be released from Hennepin County Medical Center Wednesday, their aunt told the Duluth News Tribune.

This prompted Bryanna and two of her friends to organize "Hopes of Faith," which will donate carbon monoxide detectors to families who can't afford them, Northland's NewsCenter reports. They're raising money through a fund at Lake Point Church and have also contacted local stores seeking donations.

Wal-Mart has already donated 10 carbon monoxide detectors and is allowing the group to set up a table at the store to ask for donations and spread awareness, the news station notes.

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About 170 people in the U.S. die each year from non-automotive carbon monoxide poisoning, the Consumer Product Safety Commission says. (Include all sources, and the number of fatalities jumps to about 400, according to the CDC.)

Minnesota law requires homes have at least one operational CO alarm within 10 feet of every room legally used for sleeping, the state health department says.

Carbon monoxide is often produced when burning fuels, including gasoline, coal, wood, charcoal, kerosene, natural gas, propane and heating oil, CenterPoint Energy says. Homes without proper ventilation have a greater risk of the gas building up, leading to illness or death.

An account has also been set up to accept donations for Noah and Karley at North Shore Bank. Donation checks can be made out to Karley Mechley, Noah Mechley or the Mechley children c/o North Shore Bank, 4013 Woodland Ave., Suite B, Duluth, MN 55803, the Duluth News Tribune notes. A benefit dinner is also planned.

A visitation for Michael Mechley and Charlene is being held Friday at the Dougherty Funeral Home, with a service Saturday morning, according to the funeral home's website.

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