The state medical examiner ruled out carbon monoxide poisoning as a factor in the deaths of three infants who lived at the McDougald Terrace housing complex.

“Preliminary and confirmatory testing were negative for carbon monoxide in all three cases,” the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner stated in a press release made public Thursday on the Department of Health and Human Services’ website. 

The state medical examiner notes that the office “typically does not release individual autopsy reports and information prior to the completion of the case. However, given the public health concerns surrounding the Durham Housing Authority’s McDougald Terrace location,” officials thought it was appropriate to release the carbon monoxide lab results.

The News & Observer reports that from November 20 through January 1, three infants died in the McDougald Terrace neighborhood before they turned five months old.

Concerns that the children had died of carbon monoxide poisoning were a prominent feature of a Q&A session last week that included McDougald Terrace residents, DHA executive director Anthony Scott, and officials with the fire department and emergency medical services.

The next day, the DHA began a voluntary evacuation of McDougald Terrace. So far, about 220 families from the 360-unit complex have been moved into area hotels. This week, an inspection found carbon monoxide emissions in 28 apartments where people were still living, the DHA reported

The Office of the Medical Examiner will continue looking into the causes of the infants’ deaths.

Contact staff writer Thomasi McDonald at 

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