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'Camping and carbon monoxide aren't friends,' says Grand Rapids Fire Marshal

Camping is a summertime staple in Michigan, but there are things you need to know to keep you and your family safe from the "silent killer" known as carbon monoxide.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — As authorities continue to investigate the deaths of four people at a three-day country music festival in southeastern Michigan, including three men found dead inside a travel trailer of suspected carbon monoxide poisoning, the Grand Rapids Fire Marshal is offering up some life-saving reminders.

The deaths happened during the Faster Horses Festival at Michigan International Speedway, 80 miles west of Detroit.  

"This tragic incident is being investigated as a suspected carbon monoxide exposure from a generator located very near the travel trailer," Lenawee County Sheriff's office said on Twitter.

News of the tragedy traveled fast, prompting a West Michigan fire marshal to to feel compelled to remind all campers of how to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.

"We would recommend that generators be located in an open area at least 20 feet away from other campers and tents," said Ric Dokter, Grand Rapids Fire Marshal. "In a campground setting, you don't often have space to do that, but always look to try."

Dokter went on to say that campfires and charcoal grills emit quite a bit of carbon monoxide, so remember to extinguish both when finished with them.

"Anything that burns will produce carbon monoxide," added Dokter. "With campfires, the smoke is enough to alert people that there might be fumes around.

"Carbon monoxide is odorless and can't be seen; the fumes can travel and are typically heavier than air."

Dokter advises that all campers bring a couple carbon monoxide detectors with them, and make sure one is placed where people are sleeping.

"Most travel trailers and campers don't have carbon monoxide detectors installed," said Dokter. "You can pick up a carbon monoxide detector at any box store."

Separately during the festival, state police reported the death of a 30-year-old woman, Melissa Havens of Croswell.

The cause and manner was unknown, state police said, although investigators were looking for a suspect.

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