Minneapolis, MN carbon monoxide poisoning, Jan 1912

Birth, Marriage & Death Records

ODORLESS GAS CAUSED DEATH

Physicians Believe Carbon Monoxide was Cause of Mysterious Deaths.

[Herald Special Service.]

Minneapolis, Minn., Jan. 12. - Carbon monoxide, odorless, tasteless, deadly gas, is held responsible by physicians for the deaths yesterday of Mrs. Edith Phillips and her four-months-old baby daughter. And in the deaths of the woman and child is a warning to Minneapolis householders who use gas stoves and heaters or hard coal in stoves.

The conclusion that the deaths were due to carbon monoxide created by a gas flame under a water heater was reached through a process of elimination. Nearly every other poison or gas that possibly could have killed the woman and child would have left some trace, the physicians and scientists said, and these traces were sought in vain. The only reasonable deduction was that death either was due to the deadly carbon monoxide or to some mysterious and subtle never before encountered in a case of the kind. Efforts to verify this theory by a blood test today failed, but the physicians said that, under certain conditions, the effect of the poison might not show in the blood, and they still clung to the theory of carbon monoxide poison.

The bodies of the woman and child were found in the Phillips flat. Mrs. Phillips was lying half on the bed, half on the floor. On the bed lay the body of the baby. There was no indication that the case was one of suicide.

"Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas," said Dr. Frankforter. "It resultsw from incomplete combustion of carbon. When a gas, coal or any substance containing carbon is burned in a room whree the supply of oxygen has been partly removed, the flame produces carbon monoxide instead of carbon dioxide, which is commonly produced."

The Grand Forks Daily Herald, Grand Forks, ND 13 Jan 1912