Adam Purington was a polite, quiet, hard-working man.

His death, apparently from carbon monoxide poisoning in a storage container at the Rockland Fish Pier, has shaken those who knew the 37-year-old Purington.

His boss of the past two years, Frank Thompson, of Vinalhaven, said Purington was the nicest person you could meet. He also said he was one of the hardest workers he has had.

"He would always meet with you a handshake," Thompson said.

Other crew members who worked with Purington were too upset to talk, Thompson said, as they unloaded lobsters from his lobster smack at the fish pier.

Thompson said he believes that Purington was a veteran, pointing out that his wife washes clothes for crew members when they are on the island. He said that Purington had a Veterans Affairs card.

Michelle Stanley of Vinalhaven said she and her then-boyfriend had Purington over to their home for Thanksgiving last year.

"He was very, very polite, very kind, very respectful," Stanley said.

She also said she believes he was a veteran, but did not know which branch of the military he served in.

Purington told her that he never married and had no children. He did have girlfriends, however, she said. Purington said he was from Gardiner, where there were some family members.

Purington was found Saturday, Nov. 18, at about 7 a.m. by a friend and fellow crew member. Police say he was in a storage container used for bait. A forklift was running and police suspect that it was turned on to provide heat.

Purington would stay on the boat when it was on Vinalhaven. The boat is equipped with heat, sleeping quarters, and a microwave. He also spent time at his former girlfriend's residence. He also would stay in local motels.

The former girlfriend speculated that Purington may not have been sleeping in the container overnight, but may have simply gone to the pier early in the morning, awaiting the arrival of Thompson's lobster smack, which transports lobsters from the island to the mainland, and went inside the container to get warm. Temperatures dropped to 25 degrees Saturday morning.

Police said people they talked with said they were not surprised that he might have been sleeping in the container.

The formal cause of death awaits tests done by the Maine Medical Examiner's Office.

Thompson said Purington was not a homeless person, noting that he had six uncashed paychecks on him at the time of his death.

Burpee, Carpenter and Hutchins Funeral Home is handling the arrangements for Purington. No information on services was immediately available.

Efforts to reach family members have been unsuccessful.

At the Nov. 20 Rockland City Council meeting, newly elected Mayor Valli Geiger referenced Purington's death.

"The problems of the world are incredibly daunting. But in this city we have an opportunity to make small changes for our own humanity," Geiger said. "Little changes to reach out in our community to people like that young man who was in that storage container."

She said that everyone in Rockland should have housing and should be able to connect to the community.