Rock Hill, NY- By Heather Yakin, Times Herald-Record
Friends say they will be remembered with smiles on their faces, as good people taken away from their community too soon.
Officials say high carbon monoxide readings in the home solidified the theory that Dr. Laurence Spiro, 62; his wife, Heather Spiro, 55, and their house guest, 54-year-old Judith Lax of Montreal, died from carbon monoxide poisoning. The fumes were believed to have come from the home’s central air system.
The bodies were discovered Monday at the couple’s home on Scarborough Circle in Emerald Green after Dr. Spiro failed to show up for work.
The repercussions of the deaths were felt throughout the county. At Catskill Regional Medical Center in Harris, one of the three local hospitals where Spiro had privileges, the flag flew at half-staff yesterday.
Sullivan County District Attorney Steve Lungen said it appeared that some kind of malfunction of the gas-powered central air-heating system produced the odorless, colorless gas. The air conditioning was on when police arrived Monday.
“Exactly what has to be scrutinized a little closer,” Lungen said. Today, a more detailed investigation of the heating-air conditioning system will be done. Autopsies were expected to be completed today by Dr. Michael Baden, a world-famous forensic pathologist and director of the state police labs in Albany.
Readings taken in the Spiros’ home measured CO levels at more than 300 parts per million, Lungen said. That level enough to cause death was measured later in the day, Lungen said, after the house had aired out somewhat; the Spiros were found about 11:20 a.m., and the level was likely even higher before they were found.
Police said there wasn’t a carbon monoxide detector in the home.
Carbon monoxide facts
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency:
High levels of carbon monoxide can kill within minutes.
CO (carbon monoxide) levels above 70 parts per million cause flu-like symptoms of headache, fatigue and nausea.
CO levels of 150 to 200 parts per million cause disorientation, unconsciousness and death.