Relatives of an Arizona man who died of a heart attack after breathing in dangerous levels of carbon monoxide on a rented houseboat are suing over the tragedy.

The wrongful-death lawsuit alleges that 62-year-old Glen Howeth of Winslow, Ariz., died in June 2008 due to the negligence of several companies, including the one that rented his family a boat at Lake Powell.

The suit charges that a generator on the boat gave off the noxious fumes, and the carbon monoxide alarms that were on the houseboat didn’t go off and warn anyone of the danger.

Howeth sleeping in a bedroom with his grandson, and woke up when he heard the boy throwing up. Howeth tried to waken the the rest of his family and called for help.

His relatives had symptoms such as vomiting, headaches, nausea, passing out and headaches, all the result of carbon monoxide poisoning, the suit alleges. They were transported to a hospital by helicopter.

When Howeth was trying to summon help for his family, he “suffered a fatal heart attack induced by carbon monoxide poisoning,” the suit charges.

The defendants in the case, who deny any wrongdoing, are: Aramark Corp., which rented the houseboat; Twin Anchors Marine, the boat’s manufacturer; Centek Industries, which made part of the generator; Marine Technologies, the manufacturer of the carbon monoxide detectors; and Westerbeke Corp., which made the generator.

We have long pointed out that the heart is actually more vulnerable to carbon monoxide poisoning than even the brain, because it requires oxygen even more urgently than the brain does. This story combines two of our most consistent themes: watch out for portable generators and what I have called “winter heart attack” because it might be the culprit behind many heart attacks during heating season. Today, I realize that maybe I should also coin the term “generator heart attack.” See

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