JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) – A mid-Michigan community is grieving the loss of an elderly couple that passed away sometime last week.
Police believe the man and woman died from carbon monoxide poisoning after using a generator to power their home outside Jackson.
Officers now hope people can learn from this tragedy when using a generator to power homes.
Stacey Berry says the last time she saw her neighbors, Lonnie and Leona Sibbett, was early last week.
“We saw them getting out of the car going in, and we waved to them,” Berry said.
Then a devastating wind storm slammed Michigan, knocking out power to thousands.
People on Munith Road in Leoni Township lived without power for almost three days.
Friday evening, the Berry family realized they hadn’t seen their neighbors since the electricity went out.
They went to check on 75-year-old Lonnie, and 70-year-old Leona.
“So we knocked on the door and nobody answered,” Berry said.
A concerned relative also contacted police.
That same night, officers found the married couple dead in their garage.
“It’s going to be a sad loss for the neighborhood, they were very nice people, and you hate to see something like this happen,” Berry said.
Officials from Blackman-Leoni Township Public Safety believe the Sibbetts died from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Investigators say the couple was using a generator in their garage after losing power.
Police on the scene reported extremely high levels of carbon monoxide in the couple’s garage and home.
The public safety department wants everyone to know that using a generator in a garage or any enclosed space is very dangerous.
Toxins can build up and then seep into homes, causing serious medical conditions or death very quickly.
Berry says she has fond memories of the couple who always seemed to keep themselves busy with activities.
She says Lonnie was known to fix tractors, and Leona enjoyed gardening.
“It’s very sad. And it’s hard to believe that it could happen in your neighborhood. You think you’re so close and this is your little part of the world, but it can happen anywhere,” Berry said.
An autopsy is underway to confirm the suspected cause of death.
Officials say it doesn’t appear that anything suspicious happened to the couple.