Cumbola, PA – A woman died recently from what Deputy Coroner Joseph Pothering said could be carbon monoxide poisoning in this Blythe Township village.
Eleanor S. Murphy, 91, was found dead in her home Thursday by a relative who was notified by a neighbor after someone noticed uncollected newspapers outside Murphys home. Pothering pronounced her dead at 10:02 a.m. after being dispatched by the Schuylkill County Communications Center at 9:23 a.m. Schuylkill EMS and state police at Frackville were also on scene.
I wouldnt rule out carbon monoxide, Pothering said Thursday.
He said the woman was on the couch and the TV was on. An oil smell permeated the house, he added.
The whole house was filled with soot, including her body, he said.
He did not know how long Murphy had been deceased but said she died several days ago, because of the condition of the body. The last newspaper that was taken inside the house was Jan. 28.
A cat was also found dead under a bed, Pothering said. He went to look for the cat after being told one lived in the house.
Pothering also went downstairs to check on the heating unit and discovered a switch had been tripped on the oil burner.
There was a malfunction definitely with that oil burner, he said.
He did not see any smoke detectors or carbon monoxide detectors in the house.
Toxicology tests are being sent out for examination. A virtual autopsy was conducted Thursday at the Simon Kramer Cancer Institute, New Philadelphia. Schuylkill County Coroner Dr. David J. Moylan III said he did not know Murphys medical history. The cause of death is pending chemical toxicology tests being sent to National Medical Services, Willow Grove, Moylan said. Those results should be back in about three weeks.
We do not suspect foul play, Moylan said.
The virtual autopsy showed hardening of the arteries, especially those leading to the heart, he said.
Pothering offered a reminder that all homeowners should have regular maintenance performed on heating equipment. He said homes should have proper safety equipment, such as smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
Each home should have carbon monoxide detectors, he said.
Checking on the safety and wellbeing of elderly residents is also important, Pothering said.
This is another wake up call to our citizens to service their furnaces in this winter season and to get carbon monoxide detectors, Moylan said.
Anne Dalvet, 56, of New Philadelphia, was the relative who found Murphy. She last saw her about Jan. 28. Dalvet described Murphy as a very private person, whose cat, Molly, was her life.