Penfield, NY- A Penfield man died from carbon monoxide poisoning in his home early yesterday, according to Monroe County sheriffs deputies.
Stephen Makowiecki, 54, was found unresponsive by his daughter and son in the family home, 1399 Creek St., about 3:40 a.m., said sheriffs spokesman Cpl. John Helfer. Makowiecki was pronounced dead at the scene, Helfer said.
His children an 18-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl also had elevated carbon monoxide levels in their blood, Helfer said. They were taken to Rochester General Hospital for treatment. The siblings remained in satisfactory condition today, according to a hospital spokeswoman.
Rochester, Gas and Electric Corp. employees found elevated levels of carbon monoxide in the house, Helfer said. Authorities found a gas fuel boiler in the residence producing high levels of carbon monoxide.
The teens also told authorities that the family had a fire in a fireplace the previous evening, he said. They also told deputies that two carbon monoxide detectors had sounded Monday evening, but that the family was not clear at the time why the detectors were sounding and removed them from the house, Helfer said.
West Webster Fire Chief Tony Galante said paramedics were first called to the residence at 3:40 a.m. to assist an unconscious man who was not breathing.
About one hour later, firefighters were summoned to check carbon monoxide levels in the house.
The Monroe County Medical Examiners Office has ruled Makowieckis death to be accidental. Helfer said it appeared that Makowiecki died in his sleep.
Carbon monoxide is the colorless, odorless and tasteless gas created when fossil fuels burn incompletely. It is often called the silent killer because its nearly impossible to detect without a monitor.
Poisoning from the gas kills about 400 people and injures over 20,000 each year nationally, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Sources of carbon monoxide include many appliances used during cold weather months such as oil and gas furnaces, gas water heaters, wood and gas fireplaces, gas ranges and ovens, gas dryers, gas or kerosene space heaters and wood stoves.
Starting in March, state law mandates detectors in any residence with an attached garage or appliance that produces carbon monoxide, such as gas- or wood-powered furnaces or hot-water tanks.
When a detector sounds, Galante said residents should leave their home and call 911.
Let us check the levels, he said. It may seem disruptive, but you will be better off than staying inside and breathing it in.
Galante suggested placing one detector on every level of a residence. Test it regularly, and change batteries at least twice a year, much like with a smoke detector, he said.
Deputies today are investigating the incident.