Married Colorado firefighters die of carbon monoxide poisoning in own home, authorities say

CENTRAL CITY, Colo. — A married couple of Colorado firefighters were found dead Friday morning in their home, and their deaths were the result of accidental carbon monoxide poisoning, authorities said.

Central City Fire Lt. Cody Allen, 29, and his wife, volunteer Firefighter Shelby Nation Allen, 27, were found unresponsive in their Central City home, according to Gilpin County Sheriff’s Office officials. The Gilpin County Coroner’s Office determined their cause of death the following day.

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Station 1 out of service. Rest In Peace Cody and Shelby.

Posted by Central City Fire Department on Monday, December 14, 2020

The source of the carbon monoxide remained under investigation this week, the Denver Post reported. The couple’s bodies were found on the third floor of their townhouse after deputies were asked to conduct a welfare check.

Carbon monoxide is odorless, colorless and toxic. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the gas is emitted any time fuel is burned.

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“The most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain and confusion,” the CDC website states. “If you breathe in a lot of CO, it can make you pass out or kill you.

“People who are sleeping or drunk can die from CO poisoning before they have symptoms.”

There is typically an uptick in carbon monoxide poisonings each winter, when more people are using gas heaters or appliances for warmth, and in times of natural disaster, when people improperly use gas generators inside their homes.

The CDC recommends people with gas appliances, including gas stoves, install battery-operated or battery back-up carbon monoxide detectors in their homes. They should check or replace the battery each spring and fall.

“Cody Allen had been with the Central City Fire Department as a volunteer since July of 2009 and was recently hired full time to the position of lieutenant,” sheriff’s office officials said. “Shelby Allen was a member of the fire department as a volunteer since February of 2016.

“Both Cody and Shelby’s families have been members of this community for many, many years. They grew up in Gilpin County, met, married two years ago, and were looking forward to raising their family right here in Gilpin.”

The Gilpin County Animal Response Team, which helps firefighters evacuate livestock and domesticated pets in emergencies, mourned the couple on Facebook.

“Heaven was needing more heroes, so He came down to take two of ours this morning,” the team’s Facebook page read. “Their smiles will be missed by all that knew and loved them. Our hearts go out to their family. The loss is devastating for our community, (which) they were a big part of.”

The couple’s joint funeral is planned for Friday at the Flatirons Community Church’s west campus in Golden. Members of the public can attend in person, view the services online on the Gilpin County Sheriff’s Office’s Facebook page or at a drive-in service at the Gilpin County Fairgrounds.