ROCK HILL, SC (WIS) - More than a week later, WIS is waiting for the toxicology reports on two people who were found dead at Allen Benedict Court Apartments.
The Columbia Fire Department has inspected all 26 buildings of the public housing complex after gas leak concerns prompted the evacuation of more than 400 residents.
Among the more shocking violations found was the presence of carbon monoxide in several units, which, as the inspection states, is severe and lethal.
After hearing the news, a woman who lives in Rock Hill tells WIS she was personally affected by carbon monoxide poisoning.
Jeannie Williams lost her 11-year-old son, Jeffrey, to carbon monoxide poisoning.
“On June 7, 2013, Jeffrey and I were going to do an overnight trip to Boone, N.C., to pick up my daughter the next day at a summer camp,” Williams said.
Williams said when they first checked into the room, “it smelt like cigarette smoke and I didn’t like it, it didn’t seem clean so I asked if there was another room available.” They were offered another room and from there they started getting ready for bed, Williams said.
“While I was in bathroom, I just started getting lightheaded and dizzy, and not understanding what was happening.” Williams said.
In the room for less than an hour, “I remember crawling to the floor and I knew I needed help, but my phone was plugged in by the bed. So, I called for Jeffrey several times and he never answered and I remember reaching for the door and couldn’t reach it to open it. And that was the last thing I remember.” Williams said.
Williams said she was discovered the next morning, barely alive, after having been unconscious on the bathroom floor for more than 14 hours. Jeffrey did not survive.
“It turned out that carbon monoxide had leaked up from the pool heater underneath the room.” Williams said.
Since then, she's made it her mission to alert people to the dangers of this odorless, tasteless, and deadly gas. Williams said she wants her tragedy to serve a message.
“It’s preventable. It’s 100 percent preventable,” Williams said. “There’s no reason for anyone to die from carbon monoxide.”
The Williams family started the Jeffrey Lee Williams Foundation to help prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. The foundation raises money to purchase carbon monoxide alarms to donate to fire departments, which will then be installed in people’s homes.
Since 2015, Williams said the foundation has donated 4,069 Carbon Monoxide alarms to fire departments.
“Where there is a source, there is a need for carbon monoxide alarm.” Williams said.
If you’d like to donate to the Jeffrey Lee Williams foundation, click here.