Oxon Hill firefighters have been going door-to-door in the South Lawn neighborhood, warning people of the dangers of carbon monoxide.
Yesterday, five people from El Salvador were found dead in their home on Shelby Drive, apparently poisoned by the colorless, odorless gas.
Oxon Hill resident Randy Shock said his home always had a CO detector, showing it to a firefighter who stopped by Wednesday. "I change the batteries every year. When it gets weak, it beeps," he said.
The victims' home did not have a carbon monoxide detector. Their loved ones, including members of a small but close-knit church, have banded together in the wake of the tragedy.
Mara Garcia and several others spend Wednesday afternoon making donation boxes to place in nearby stores.
"We're immigrants, most of us barely making minimum wage, and can't afford the funeral costs," Garcia said in Spanish. The group hopes to make enough money to ship the victims' bodies home for burial in El Salvador.
According to the consul general of El Salvador, Celia Medrano, that's proving to be expensive: $5,000-$6,000 per victim.
A BB&T bank account has been set up for the victims to be sent home. The account is listed under Iglesia Pentecostal Torre Fuerte, and the account number is 0159-4545-25.