Unfortunately, it’s no surprise that last weekend’s freak snowstorm in the Northeast, which knocked out power for days in New Jersey and Connecticut, would end up killing people. Or perhaps rather, that carbon monoxide would wind up killing people. And so it happened.

An elderly couple, Robert Stephens, 84, and his wife Susanna, 79, were discovered dead in their home in Holland Township, N.J. They had been without electricity for almost a week, and were found by a Jersey Central Power & Light  contractor, according to The Wall Street Journal.


Authorities believe that the married couple died of carbon monoxide poisoning from a gas generator they had running in their garage to heat their home.

Middle Atlantic officials agree that the weekend snowstorm did much more damage than Hurricane Irene back at the end of August. The snowstorm packed a real whammy, downing trees and branches whose leaves — not fallen yet — couldn’t bear the weight of the heavy wet snow.

That lead to the downing of power lines, depriving residents of heat during frosty fall weather. People scrambled to find other ways to heat their homes, be it with fire pits or gas generators, or even firing up charcoal grills and propane burners inside their homes, according to The Journal.

But those alternatives to electrically produced heat all pose the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning.

The Journal reported that Connecticut officials had gotten more than 200 calls about carbon monoxide poisoning since the Oct. 30 snowstorm.

In the case of the Garden State, “11 callers to New Jersey’s poison control center were later hospitalized for carbon monoxide exposure,” according to The Journal.  

Unfortunately, the Stephens never made such a call.  

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