DC Mormon Leader, 61, Dies After Carbon Monoxide Exposure

A top leader in the Washington area's Mormon community has died following carbon monoxide exposure. 

James Richard Baird, the president of the Washington, D.C. stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, died Thursday.

"Everyone I've ever talked to that knew him felt like he was their best friend," his son, Joseph Baird, told News4. "We felt very loved growing up."

Baird's daughter found him and his wife inside their home on the 10000 block of Parkwood Drive in Kensington, Maryland, on Jan. 31 and called 911. She performed CPR with instruction from the emergency operator as paramedics were dispatched to the home.

The couple was unconscious when they were pulled from the home by firefighters, Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service spokesman Pete Piringer said.

Baird, 61, died from his injuries the next day. His wife and their daughter were also hospitalized in less serious condition. 

Baird's second-in-command, Nathan Sheets, told WTOP-FM Baird moved to the area a decade ago and climbed the regional ranks. A stake is a unit consisting of smaller congregations. Baird's stake oversaw nine wards and two branches in Maryland and D.C. 

The source of the carbon monoxide was the furnace in the basement, where the couple was sleeping while the home is being renovated. Investigators are looking into whether the renovations factored in the CO poisoning.

Neighbors said the couple recently moved into the house.

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