Warming up cars in a garage could be fatal; Midlands family now using tragedy to teach


Columbia, SC (WACH)--During the Winter, some might warm up the car on the cold mornings and it's possible you might leave it in the garage. That could potentially be a deadly decision. According to DHEC, just last year, there were 46 carbon monoxide-related deaths in South Carolina. A Midlands family experienced one of them. Now they're using that tragedy to teach.

Brian Keith "BJ" Davidson Jr. didn't know sitting in his running car inside the garage was dangerous. The high school senior died last Valentine's Day to the silent killer. The poisonous gas produced by fuel burning had no way to ventilate, knocking Davidson unconscious within minutes.

"He often sat in the car, including the night before, for hours, talking on his phone, listening to music. It didn't take long. He didn't know about carbon monoxide," says his mom, Robin Hill-Davidson

His sister Briana Davidson says their dad tried CPR on B.J. for 30 minutes, but could tell felt helpless and hurt. Mrs. Hill-Davidson says there's nothing natural about a child going before a parent. The family says they're missing a good soul, but they hope B.J.'s story will save lives.

Director of the Palmetto Poison Center, Jill Michels says there's no way to detect carbon monoxide without a device.

"Your body is not getting enough oxygen to its tissues. Think about organs that need oxygen. Your brain, that's why you feel dizzy. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas. So you can't tell when it's in your environment. Have detectors in your home. They're easy to find," says Michels.

She says if you are exposed, the best thing to do is step outside right away. The Davidson family says since they began sharing B.J.'s story, more people have been installing carbon monoxide detectors in their homes and saving lives. B.J.'s family also wants to encourage others to hug their loved ones tight.

"I have comfort because I knew my son knew we loved him very much and he loved us very much. It's hard," says Hill-Davidson.

The family says B.J. planned to major in education when he went to college. To honor him, they created a scholarship for Richland One seniors planning to do the same. Just head to any Wells Fargo bank to make a contribution under the "David Keith Davidson Jr. Memorial Fund".

DHEC provides everything you need to know about carbon monoxide poisoning. Just click here.

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