One of the two people who were hospitalized after suffering carbon monoxide poisoning Sunday while boating has died, according to the San Luis Obispo Tribune.

The victim was Sandy Valencia, 23, of Salinas, Calif., according to a press release from the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Department.

The release said that Valencia was declared legally dead Monday, but had been kept on life support until Thursday, when an organ donation procedure was completed.

Valencia and an unidentified man were boating on Lake Nacimiento, and apparently got carbon monoxide poisoning by sitting in the back of boat near the engine exhaust. When sheriff’s officers and Monterey County Park Rangers on patrol were flagged down, Valencia  was not breathing. The responders initiated CPR.

Both victims were transported to a local hospital.


Three people died of carbon monoxide poisoning in a Jeep in Maine because the vehicle’s tailpipe was blocked by mud in a blog, according to the Kennebec Journal. It’s a hell of a way to die for a group of friends that was just doing off-road driving for some weekend relaxation.

The bodies of Reginald Gay, 41, his wife Samantha Davis-Gay, 33, and Luke Thompson, 22, were found Saturday night in a Jeep Wrangler in Windsor, Maine.

“Investigators believe the three died as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning after the Jeep became stuck in a bog and continual revving created excessive exhaust,” the Kennebec Journal wrote.

Authorities said that the Jeep’s exhaust system normally would vent from a tailpipe, but when the vehicle got stuck in the blog the pipe was buried in the mud, blocked by it, according to the Kennebec Journal. That meant that the exhaust fumes filtered into the vehicle instead, killing its passengers.

The article pointed out that the incident was reminiscent of cases when victims die of carbon monoxide poisoning after their car’s tailpipe gets blocked by snow. For example, people stuck in a snowstorm may leave their car engine running to keep warm, but then die because their tailpipe was plugged up by snow.

According to the newspaper, authorities believe that the three victims may have opened the Jeep’s windows at some point because of the smell of the exhaust that the hard-top vehicle was giving off.  It’s unlikely they knew about the carbon monoxide, since it is odorless and colorless — which is what makes it so dangerous.

In fact, the story noted that in December 2010, three people suffered carbon monoxide poisoning, but survived, when their car got stock in mud in Kennebec County.

A captain with the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Department  told the newspaper that if the three victims had opened the back window of the Jeep, it “would have created an air exchange” and then no one would have perished.

Alcohol was found in the Jeep, but authorities wouldn’t comment on whether the victims had been drinking.




Five Salvadoran immigrants died of apparent carbon monoxide poisoning Tuesday in a home in Oxon Hill, Md., according to The Washington Post.

The son of one of the five victims discovered their bodies in the brick house they dwelled in, which is located in a suburb of Washington, D.C. The bodies were strewn around the house on Shelby Drive.

Authorities in Prince George’s County are blaming a a carbon monoxide leak, from a rusted exhaust pipe that separated from a natural gas furnace, for the deaths, according to The Post. Police told the paper that the pipe, which is supposed to ventilate the carbon monoxide that results from the combustion of gas in the furnace, deteriorated as it aged.

Firefighters detected carbon monoxide levels of 140 parts per million at the front door of the home, The Post reported. That compares to the zero to 5 parts per million that is considered normal and the the 30 parts per million that can kill. Inside the house, the carbon monoxide level went as high a s560 parts per million, according to The Post.

The victims were identified as Oscar Chavez, 57, Sonia Maribel Leiva, 54, Nora Leiva, 57, Francisco Javier Gomez Segovia, 33, and Nelson Enrique Landaverde Alas, 44. The Post reported. They were pronounced dead at the scene.

The group included a married couple, the sister of the wife, and two male family friends.


The Nevada Supreme Court will be reviewing a case stemming from an incident where four guests of a motel died of carbon monoxide poisoning, according to Courthouse News Service. They were killed at the Casino West Motel in Yerington, Nev., in 2006 when fatal fumes from a pool heater filtered into their rooms, whose airways were blocked.

Two questions stemming from an insurance dispute over the accident Friday were certified by the 9th Circuit to go to the high court, Courthouse News Service reported.

The survivors of the four people killed sued, but the motel’s insurer, Century Surety Co., said it was not liable under its policy’s “pollution and indoor-air-quality exclusions,” according to the news service.

Those exclusions deny coverage for accidental injury or death that results from “smoke, fumes, vapor or soot from equipment used to heat the building” and “toxic, hazardous, noxious, irritating, pathogenic or allergen qualities or characteristics of indoor air regardless of cause,” Courthouse News Service reported.

Century had gone to federal court in Reno seeking a ruling that it wasn’t bound to indemnify Casino West Motel in any wrongful-death litigation from the accident. The motel accused the insurer of bad faith, and the court ruled in its favor, according to Courthouse News Service.

That court at first prevented Century from going to the San Francisco-based 9th Circuit, but relented. On Friday, the appellate panel said it would not rule until the Nevada Supreme Court made a determination on Century’s policy exclusions.

In its order, quoted by the news service, the three-judge appeals panel said that Nevada, home of a huge hotel industry, has not “expressly decided the scope of the pollution exclusion.”

“Casino West contends that the fact that so many courts have reached different opinions conclusively establishes the exclusion as ambiguous,” the order states, according to Courthouse News Service.

“However, Casino West has not cited any Nevada cases so holding, and we have not found any on our own. Given the magnitude of the hotel industry in Nevada, we believe the question of the ambiguity of this standard insurance exclusion is one of exceptional importance to Nevada insurers and insureds.”

There are two questions of law that need to be answered: “Does the pollution exclusion in Century’s insurance policy exclude coverage of claims arising from carbon monoxide exposure?” and  “Does the indoor air quality exclusion in Century’s insurance policy exclude coverage of claims arising from carbon monoxide exposure?”

Courthouse News Service also provided this text from the 9th Circuit order.

“These questions are determinative in this case,” the order states. “If both exclusions are ambiguous, as the district court found, then Casino West’s claims would be covered by Century. However, if one or both of the exclusions is unambiguous, then the opposite result would occur and Century would have no duty to defend or indemnify Casino West with regard to the wrongful death suits.”

The survivors of a Tampa woman who died of carbon monoxide poisoning last year are suing her apartment building owner, its architect and the person who left his car running in its garage, according to Tampa Bay Online.

The civil lawsuit stems from the death of Rebecca Hawk, who was a 23-year-old child-protection investigator trainee in the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, reported.

Last September Hawk’s body was discovered in her apartment, with the death determined to be an accident caused by carbon monoxide poisoning.

The lawsuit names Hawk’s neighbor Andrew Grywalski as one of its defendants.  He inadvertently left his Mazda running in the apartment garage for 12 hours, according to

But the suit also names the landowner of Hawk’s apartment, Breof TC Vista Grand; the apartment manager Fairfield Property Management;  an engineer; a contractor and an architect as defendants, alleging that they were negligent.

The lawsuit charges that Breof and Fairfield didn’t maintain a separation wall between Hawk’s apartment and the garage, and that the wall didn’t have proper insulation, reported.

The suit also alleges that the landowner and apartment manager failed to keep the garage in good repair.

One man was killed and two others were hospitalized for carbon monoxide poisoning Saturday in a suburb of  Pittsburgh, Pa., according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

The victims were discovered when police in Baldwin Borough got a call at about 10 p.m. about a car left running in a garage.

The fatality, John Stephenson, 87, was dead at the scene on Keenan Drive, the Post-Gazette reported.

Two unidentified people were transported to a local hospital for treatment for carbon monoxide poisoning. Their condition wasn’t known.

Here is a horrendous case of carbon monoxide poisoning: A family from Denver wins a holiday stay in Aspen in a charity auction, and all four family members die on Thanksgiving 2008 from the lethal fumes at the vacation home.

Parker Lofgren, 39, his wife Caroline, 42, and their children Sophie, 8, and Owen, 10, died in the horrible incident, which has lead to criminal charges as well as a civil lawsuit.  
The Aspen City Council is apparently prepared to approve $50,000 being put in a fund for the defense of  the two building inspectors charged in the deaths, the Aspen Daily News reported Monday.

Retired Aspen building inspector Erik Peltonen is charged with four counts of criminal negligence for the death of the Lofgren family, while plans examiner Brian Pawl stands charged with four counts of misdemeanor reckless endangerment.
A broken pipe that was part of the home’s snowmelt system allegedly lead to the carbon monoxide fatalities, and Peltonen and Pawl had overseen the  home’s inspection and permitting. 
Martin Brown, owner of Roaring Fork Plumbing and Heating, which allegedly installed the system, is also charged in the case. 
In addition to the Aspen council, Pitkin County is also putting up matching funds for the defense of the two city employees, according to the Aspen Daily News.  
Peltonen and Pawl, indicted this summer, haven’t entered a plea on the charges yet. They are also named as defendants in a civil suit filed by the Lofgrens’ family. 
Pawl and Peltonen’s defense in the civil suit will be covered by the city’s insurance carrier.
The lawsuit also lists s defendants the vacation home’s owner and developer, Black Diamond Development, and the  manufacturer of the snowmelt system, along with and other parties that were not charged criminally.
The deaths of the four Lofgren family members sparked new laws being passed in Colorado and some other states that mandate carbon monoxide detectors be installed in all homes.
Although county codes at the time of the tragedy required carbon monoxide detectors in new homes, the house where the Lofgrens were staying allegedly didn’t have one, the Aspen paper reported. 


Here are two more tragic carbon monoxide poisoning deaths.

Last Saturday a married couple, Brian and Shirley Sterling, 52 and 47, respectively, were found dead around noon in their home in Austintown, Ohio, by their daughter.

She found the couple’s sport utility vehicle still running in a garage that is attached to the Sterling’s home, and naturally the vehicle was the source of  the carbon monoxide poisoning that killed the couple. A coroner’s investigator believes the husband and wife died between midnight and 4 a.m. Sunday.

I assume that the Sterlings accidentally left their SUV running, and they did not have a carbon monoxide detector in their house, hence the tragedy. Police had to ventilate the home after the bodies were found.

I and others have said it again and again: A $25 carbon monoxide alarm could save your life. It could have saved the Sterlings, and spared their poor daughter the heartache of finding their bodies.