Richard "Ricky" Dykes III was fixing up a 1986 Chevrolet pickup in his garage last week when he collapsed from carbon monoxide poisoning.
The truck hadn't been running, but a generator to power a paint sprayer was. His girlfriend, Wanda Fleigle, found the 27-year-old man after he didn't respond to phone calls, said his mother, Deborah Dykes.
Dykes was taken to York Hospital, where he was declared dead about 12:38 a.m. Nov. 25, according to the York County Coroner's Office. An autopsy determined that he died accidentally of carbon monoxide poisoning.
"Everybody couldn't believe it," his mother said.
She had decided to get a carbon monoxide detector for their Spring Garden Township home a while back after hearing about a family that became sick when a furnace malfunctioned.
"I never thought about where he was working in the garage," she said.
The family held a vigil Saturday evening to raise awareness about carbon monoxide poisoning. The odorless, colorless gas is a silent killer.
Dykes said her son loved everyone deeply -- including his two children, 4-year-old Destany Dykes and 10-month-old Richard W. Dykes V.
Richard Dykes was a mamma's boy, Deborah Dykes said. She has a disability, and her son lived at home so he could help take care of her.
"It's going to be really hard because he's not here anymore," she said.
Richard Dykes was a self-employed mechanic and operated Rick's Garage in the City of York.
Parents never imagine that their children will die before them, his mother said.
"It just rips pieces out of you," she said.
The most common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
High levels of carbon monoxide inhalation can cause loss of consciousness and death.
Unless suspected, carbon monoxide poisoning can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms mimic other illnesses. People who are sleeping or intoxicated can die from carbon monoxide poisoning before ever experiencing symptoms.
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