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The Texas Tribune-ProPublica Investigative Unit

Texas enabled the worst carbon monoxide poisoning catastrophe in recent U.S. history

They used their car to stay warm when a winter storm brought down the Texas power grid. In a state that doesn't require carbon monoxide alarms in homes, they had no warning they were poisoning themselves.

“Public health disaster”

Shalemu Bekele with his wife, Etenesh Mersha, daughter, Rakeb, and son, Beimnet.

Pleading for help

Failed reform attempts

Starting over

Shalemu Bekele and his son, Beimnet, photographed at their church, DSM Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, in Houston, TX, on Wednesday, April 14, 2021. Bekele’s wife and daughter died of carbon monoxide poisoning during a tragic freeze in February.

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