Local News

Two Coulee City adults dead from suspected carbon monoxide poisoning


Coroner Craig Morrison confirmed Wednesday that 68-year-old Roxy Mae Ergler and 72-year-old Kenneth W. Gomez were the two people who died Monday evening.

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The Grant County Sheriff's office is reporting the deaths of two Coulee City adults due to what is believed to be carbon monoxide poisoning last night. 

Around 7:00 p.m. Monday, responders were called to a trailer park in the 500 block of West Walnut St. in Coulee City when a landlord found two renters, a male and a female, dead inside a home.

Investigators believe the two were killed by carbon monoxide poisoning from either a propane appliance or propane heater. 

No foul play is expected. 

When asked about the dangers of Carbon Monoxide, Spokane Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer offered the following: "It's colorless, it's odorless, and it's extremely dangerous because it sneaks up on people without them realizing it.  It's incredibly important to make sure you have a Carbon Monoxide detector in your home."

The Coroner will notify next of kin for each of the deceased and perform autopsies to confirm the cause of the deaths. Once the families have been notified the names of the decedents will be released.

The GCSO released this information about preventing carbon monoxide poisoning:

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas produced by burning gas, wood, propane, charcoal or other fuel. Improperly ventilated appliances and engines, particularly in a tightly sealed or enclosed space, may allow carbon monoxide to accumulate to dangerous levels.

Carbon monoxide poisoning occurs when carbon monoxide builds up in your bloodstream. When too much carbon monoxide is in the air, your body replaces the oxygen in your red blood cells with carbon monoxide. This can lead to serious tissue damage, or even death.

If you think you or someone you're with may have carbon monoxide poisoning, get into fresh air and seek emergency medical care. Signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning may include:
• Dull headache
• Weakness
• Dizziness
• Nausea or vomiting
• Shortness of breath
• Confusion
• Blurred vision
• Loss of consciousness

The warning signs of carbon monoxide poisoning can be subtle. But the condition is a life-threatening medical emergency. If you think you or someone you're with may have carbon monoxide poisoning, get into fresh air and seek emergency medical care.

Simple precautions can help prevent carbon monoxide poisoning:

• Install carbon monoxide detectors. Put one in the hallway near each sleeping area in your house. Check the batteries every time you check your smoke detector batteries — at least twice a year. If the alarm sounds, leave the house and call 911 or the fire department. Carbon monoxide detectors are also available for motor homes and boats.
• Open the garage door before starting your car. Never leave your car running in your garage. Be particularly cautious if you have an attached garage. Leaving your car running in a space attached to the rest of your house is never safe, even with the garage door open.
• Use gas appliances as recommended. Never use a gas stove or oven to heat your home. Use portable gas camp stoves outdoors only. Use fuel-burning space heaters only when someone is awake to monitor them and doors or windows are open to provide fresh air. 
• Don't run a generator in an enclosed space, such as the basement or garage.

Keep your fuel-burning appliances and engines properly vented. These include:

• Space heaters
• Furnaces
• Charcoal grills
• Cooking ranges
• Water heaters
• Fireplaces
• Portable generators
• Wood-burning stoves