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Penfield man dies from carbon monoxide intoxication | News

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Penfield man dies from carbon monoxide intoxication
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A Penfield man is dead from carbon monoxide poisoning. His two teenaged children were hospitalized. It happened early Tuesday morning in a home on Creek Street in Penfield. Officials have traced the cause as a faulty gas fuel boiler.

The Monroe County Sheriff's Office identifies the victim as 54-year-old Stephen Makowiecki. He was discovered unresponsive by his 18-year-old son and 16-year-old daughter who were treated at Rochester General Hospital.

Deputies say this was a tragic, tragic case of someone apparently ignoring the warning from not one but two carbon monoxide detectors.

The sheriff quotes the teenagers as saying the two carbon monoxide detectors went off but the family wasn't clear why and the devices were moved out outside the house. That decision proved fatal to the father.

News 10NBC spoke with a family member today who said this has been hard on the mother and children. He said the mother was not at home at the time.

Carbon monoxide to many is a mysterious but deadly gas. It's odorless and colorless. Symptoms include headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion. High levels of CO can cause loss of consciousness and death.
                   
“Our ambulance was summoned about 3:40 in the morning for a male unresponsive, not breathing.” West Webster Fire Chief Tony Galante said the man was deceased. The Medical Examiners Office determined that he died from carbon monoxide intoxication. “If you're carbon monoxide detector is going off, it's like anything, it can malfunction. If you're not sure, get out of the house and call 911. Let us come down and make sure that it's safe to be there.”

Gov. Paterson signed Amanda’s Law in February. It's named for 16-year-old Amanda Hansen of West Seneca, New York, who died in 2009 due to a carbon monoxide leak from a defective boiler.

It requires installation of carbon monoxide alarms in all new and existing buildings. The only exception is houses with no carbon monoxide source like all electric homes.

Mayer Hardware says sales took off after the law took effect. Tom Green said, “Our sales went from one or two a day to up to a dozen to three dozen a day. So it was quite dramatic, a big increase.”

West Webster's fire chief says 80 to 90-percent of their calls for carbon monoxide are false alarms but that doesn't matter. “We would rather someone err on the side of caution and call us.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control more than 400 Americans die from carbon monoxide poisoning each year, 20,000 visit the emergency room and more than 4,000 are hospitalized. Fatality is highest among Americans 65 and older.

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