BETHESDA, MD– A top leader in the local Mormon community passed away from carbon monoxide exposure after he was found unconscious at his Bethesda home Wednesday, according to reports.

James Richard Baird, 61, the president of the Washington, D.C. stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, died Thursday.

NBC Washington reports Baird’s daughter found him and his wife unconscious at their home in the 1000 block of Parkwood Dr. at about 10:30 a.m. Wednesday. She called 911 and performed life-saving instruction on her parents before first responders arrived, spokesperson Pete Piringer said.

Nathan Sheets, who is the First Counselor in the Washington D.C. Stake Presidency, said: “In these formal capacities he was instrumental in leading our efforts and teaching and helping people.” But it was this combination of both the official responsibility and the great heart, almost sort of the unofficial parts of who he was, that just made him so powerful. It was really a wonderful combination.”

A Facebook group called Remembering James Baird has over 1,000 members with posts honoring his passion and heart.

Hazmat crews immediately detected elevated carbon monoxide levels likely from the furnace in the basement area, Piringer said. The water heater “seemed to be needing some adjustments as well.”

He was transported to the hospital in possible cardiac arrest, officials said at the time of the leak. It is believed that his bedroom was located closest to the furnace, so “time and exposure” led him to suffer potential life-threatening injuries.

Baird was one of three adults found unconscious in the home. His wife and daughter are both recovering from the exposure, officials said.

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