Carbon monoxide kills man, sickens wife

June 19, 2010 at 6:45 PM
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BOCA RATON, Fla., June 19 (UPI) -- An elderly Florida man was killed by carbon monoxide poisoning Saturday and his wife became critically ill after a car was left running in their garage.

The couple's two healthcare workers and three Boca Raton paramedics were sickened by the gas, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported.

Hyman Hal Portnoy, 89, died at Delray Medical Center. His wife, Elaine Sommer-Portnoy, 87, was admitted there.

Capt. Don DeLucia of Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue said the Portnoys called a healthcare worker about 3:30 a.m. and said they felt sick. The worker, suspecting carbon monoxide, checked the garage and found neither car was running.

By 8:30 a.m., the healthcare worker and another one who had arrived at the house were also sick. DeLucia said paramedics then realized there were high levels of carbon monoxide in the house.

"Just walking into it they started getting sick," he said.

Investigators later found one of the couple's cars was out of gas and had a dead battery. DeLucia said the Lincoln Continental might have run for as long as 18 hours, with the deadly gas coming out of the tailpipe, before it shut down.

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