Holland, MI- By John Tunison, The Grand Rapids Press
A Holland couple died in the Pullman area building they were renovating after succumbing to carbon monoxide gas from a portable generator.
The bodies of Oscar and Silvia Villanueva, who both worked at the Heinz pickle factory in Holland, were discovered about 6 p.m. Tuesday after a neighbor became worried about the couple.
The neighbor noticed the couple’s white pickup had not moved from the driveway on Kimberly Lane since Saturday morning.
Oscar, 55, and Silvia, 59, had been working inside the building to finish off a portion as living quarters, Allegan County sheriff’s deputies said.
“They were supposed to come live here,” a neighbor said. “They were nice people.”
Steven Stanek, a security guard at Heinz, said he always talked with Oscar Villanueva when he walked in or out of the plant.
“He knew quite a few people that worked here,” Stanek said. “When he was leaving at the end of the day, he never walked out by himself.”
Allegan County Undersheriff Jim Hull said investigators discovered the generator was in the “on” position, although it had run out of gas. There was no sign of foul play.
He said the deaths illustrate the danger that gas and propane-powered devices pose in a confined space.
“Anytime you’re dealing with a gas engine of any kind, you have to have adequate ventilation,” he said.