Killington, VT- A Massachusetts man is dead and eight other people remain hospitalized after suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning at a vacation home in Killington.
Authorities say a propane wall heater in the basement of Edward Lappen and Helen Lieb’s ski chalet on Richardson Road leaked the deadly gas overnight.
“We believe the source of the carbon monoxide was a propane wall heater unit within the basement of the residence,” Vt. State Police Lt. Jim Cruise said. “The heater was tested and found to have multiple cracks. We recorded high levels of carbon monoxide emanating from the cracks within the unit.”
“One of the family members awoke and was ill. They checked on the other family members to see if they were ill as well,” said Capt. Gary Roth of the Killington Fire Department. “We arrived on scene just after five and there were multiple victims standing around, and some not standing.”
When the rescue agencies arrived on scene seven of the victims were awake, but Lieb and Lappen were unconscious. Lappen, 60, of Cohasset, Mass., was later pronounced dead at Rutland Regional Medical Center. A DHART helicopter airlifted Lappen’s wife, Helen Lieb, to Mass General Hospital in Boston where she is listed in fair condition.
“We all worked very quickly together,” Roth said. “Four agencies were involved in preparing the patients and transporting to the ambulances, then for where they needed to be for higher level of care.”
Authorities say the survivors are lucky to be alive– the home was not equipped with CO detectors.
“Household items like stoves and furnaces can give off carbon monoxide and you would not even know it,” Roth said. “So without the help of a detector to wake you or to let you know when you are awake that it is present, the symptoms can overcome you without you even knowing it.”
Rescue officials say carbon monoxide poisoning claims over 200 lives annually, but could easily be prevented by CO detectors which can be purchased at hardware stores for less than $20.