GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The investigation into the three Grand Rapids family members found dead in a parked vehicle continues.

Death certificates say it was an accidental carbon monoxide poisoning. Ruby Roberts, 78, Ellay Brown, 60, and the 4-month-old baby all had toxic levels in their blood.

Many people in the public are wondering how that could happen in a vehicle that was parked outside.

The Grand Rapids Fire Department says any damage to an exhaust could cause this deadly outcome.

“What we are looking for is to make sure your exhaust is ported away from your vehicle. That’s critically important and everyone should be taking a look at this with their cars,” said Lt. Bill Smith with the Grand Rapids Fire Department.

The clear cause of the deadly tragedy earlier this month is still being sorted out, but it’s reminding drivers that damage to a car’s exhaust pipe could mean the difference between life and death.

“You could absolutely have that gas entering into your compartment,” said Smith. “And that’s going to be putting you in peril, so we definitely want to make sure it’s plumb correctly.”

Smith says a leak in an exhaust can easily get into the passenger portion of a car.

“Carbon monoxide very much is a killer,” Smith said.

It only takes a few minutes to incapacitate. One of the biggest problems it’s odorless and colorless. Most homes have carbon monoxide detectors, but when it comes to a car, Smith says people need to pay attention to their body.

“We know that carbon monoxide has a flu like symptom … but prior to that you may have some giddiness going on, your face may be flushed,” said Smith. 

He says if you don’t feel right, turn off the engine, get out of the vehicle and schedule an appointment with a licensed mechanic.

“I would say anyone that is experiencing issues and you feel like you are not feeling well after you drive your vehicle, you should probably get that checked,” he added. “It does happen very infrequently, but the biggest thing is to make sure you have preventative maintenance going on.”

A mechanic told News 8 that any strange sound coming from your vehicle is also a good indicator that the exhaust or something else is damaged.