West Mifflin, PA – Authorities said carbon monoxide was a factor in separate incidents just a few miles apart in the Steel Valley area.


One was the death of a woman in West Mifflin. The other was the illness that sent a Homestead youngster to the hospital. Both happened Monday afternoon.

The first incident was reported shortly after 2 p.m., when relatives found Melissa Szalkay, 36, dead in the living room of her home along the 4100 block of W. Francis Street in West Mifflin.

Paramedics responding to the scene said their portable carbon monoxide detectors went off. Investigators found evidence that Szalkay’s vehicle had been left running in a basement garage.

The victim last was seen alive on Sunday. The Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s office scheduled an autopsy for today.

The second incident was reported shortly after 5 p.m., when firefighters were dispatched to an apartment along the 300 block of W. Eleventh Avenue in Homestead.

Fire Chief Bill Purifoy said a girl was transported in stable condition to a local hospital by Munhall Area Prehospital Services after possible carbon monoxide exposure.

Purifoy said his unit was dispatched when a woman called to report that her daughter was feeling ill.

He said the scene was investigated and carbon monoxide readings of 200 to 300 parts per median were detected. Readings of 37 to 47 parts per median warrant a call to Equitable Gas, which is investigating the case.

Homestead police also responded to the call and took extra precautions after hearing of a report about the West Mifflin fatality.

Purifoy said four structures along the 300 block of W. Eleventh Avenue share a common basement, with two of the structures occupied. They were evacuated. The other two are vacant.

Homestead police cleared the scene around 6 p.m. and firefighters cleared the scene shortly before 7 p.m