Ohio investigators say water heater likely linked to carbon monoxide leak that killed 4 relatives was installed by father of family

The Reitter family and a Navien tankless water heater (Source: GoFundMe/Navien)
The Reitter family and a Navien tankless water heater (Source: GoFundMe/Navien)
Updated: May. 13, 2019 at 2:16 PM EDT
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GENOA TOWNSHIP, OH (WOIO) - Investigators have released more findings from the case of a suspected carbon monoxide leak that likely caused the death of four family members and their three dogs.

Authorities from the Genoa Township Police Department believe that a tankless water heater likely caused the carbon monoxide leak that killed 50-year-old Richard Reitter III, 49-year-old Jennier Reitter, as well as their children, 15-year-old Richard Reitter IV and 13-year-old Grace Reitter.

In an update provided Monday morning, Genoa Township police say an exhaust pipe on top of a hot water heater installed by Reitter and a family friend was slightly dislodged.

A forensic engineering company is unable to determine at this time if improper installation or a malfunctioning unit is at fault for the carbon monoxide leak.

Paramedics in Marion County responded to an unrelated carbon monoxide exposure on May 5. Investigators found a tankless water heater manufactured by the same company as the one found in the Reitter’s home was the cause of the gas leak. The exhaust pipe was dislodged in the same location and manner as the Reitter’s unit, according to police.

Genoa Township police have relayed the information from both cases to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office to see if there is a need for a recall or investigation from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The Reitter family and their three dogs were found dead inside their home, north of Columbus, on May 2. They were last heard from day earlier, on April 29, when the family complained of feeling ill.

Police initially said that the levels of gas inside the house were so high, they were actually unmeasurable with the tools that were first accessible.

There were no carbon monoxide detectors found in the home at the time of the deadly leak.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say signs of carbon monoxide poisoning are similar to flu symptoms; headache, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting.

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