Coroner: Carbon monoxide poisoning killed men in apartments

January 28, 2019

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A South Carolina coroner says two men who died at a public housing complex had both been killed by carbon monoxide poisoning.

Richland County Coroner Gary Watts told news outlets Monday the cause of death for 61-year-old Calvin Witherspoon Jr. and 30-year-old Derrick Roper. They were found dead Jan. 17 in their separate apartments at Allen Benedict Court in Columbia.

Fire officials previously said none of the apartments had legally mandated carbon monoxide detectors. Authorities evacuated all residents after finding high gas levels in about 65 of the 244 units.

A statement from lawyers for Tammy Basinger and Khaylis Scott say the two have filed a class-action lawsuit for fellow-tenants against the Columbia Housing Authority seeking damages. The suit says the agency didn’t take action to fix unsafe living conditions.

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