A 61-year-old man who was a leader in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints died last week after being overcome by carbon monoxide at his house in Montgomery County authorities said.
The victim was identified on Facebook as James Baird, the president of the Washington D.C. stake of the LDS church, often referred to as the Mormon Church. A Facebook post said he died Thursday.
“It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of Washington DC Stake President James Baird, due to accidental carbon monoxide poisoning in his home,” the Annapolis stake of the church said on its Facebook site Thursday evening.
The posting said his wife had been released from the hospital, and had recovered fully.
A stake is a unit of the church that usually consists of as many as 12 congregations, which are called wards.
A website describing the church’s organiztion listed nine wards, and two smaller congregations, or branches, in the Washington stake. The stake’s wards and branches are in Maryland and the District.
A church website describes the stake president as the stake’s “ presiding high priest” who oversees the “spiritual and temporal welfare” of church members.
Three people were taken to hospitals Wednesday after being found in a house in the 10000 block of Parkwood Drive, in the Bethesda area, where elevated levels of carbon monoxide were detected, said Pete Piringer, the spokesman for the county fire and rescue service. One of the three was in critical condition, Piringer said.
He said he understood that renovations were under way at the house, and that the critically injured man was found near the furnace. He said it appeared that a boiler may have malfunctioned.
Carbon monoxide, which is colorless and odorless and can be deadly, may be produced in houses by appliances that use natural gas for heating. It is associated with the incomplete combustion of fuel, and may accumulate in closed spaces.
A Facebook page for “DC Mormons & Friends” described Baird as a “man quick to serve and show love and compassion to those around him.”