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January 8, 2008
Fire marshal: House where 3 died had new gas furnace
PROVIDENCE -- State Fire Marshal Frank Sylvester said today that the South Providence house where three bodies were found yesterday had a new gas furnace installed shortly before New Year's Day.
Overnight, investigators sealed the house and left the heater running in an attempt to gather additional evidence about a heater that may have been improperly installed.
Police believe an improperly installed heating system that leaked carbon monoxide led to the deaths. A heating system expert is inspecting the system this afternoon.
Sylvester said he recommends carbon monoxide detectors for all houses. He said carbon monoxide detectors are as important, if not more so, than smoke detectors because you can see smoke, while a carbon monoxide leak is invisible and has no odor or taste.
The police initially treated the case as a homicide, but the department's deputy chief said last night that a preliminary autopsy found no evidence of trauma and that the deaths may have been accidental.
Deputy Police Chief Paul Kennedy said at a community meeting that their preliminary investigation indicated that a boiler had been installed improperly in the house. A preliminary investigation, the police added later, showed that its installation was faulty and that there was an elevated level of carbon monoxide present.
The decomposed bodies were discovered yesterday in the home at 345 Blackstone St. The police were called to check on them after a relative and neighbor couldn't get in touch with them.
The state medical examiner's office is working to conclusively identify the victims and their cause of death.
A neighbor and a friend identified two of the occupants of the house as Sonia Maritza Flores, 46, also known as Sonia Maritza Aleman, and her son Ryan, 16, a student at the Met School. The neighbor, Jasmin Osorio, 25, said Flores’ longtime boyfriend lived with them.
A crew from the gas utility National Grid was at the house this morning. Campbell said tests would be taken again today to monitor the air quality and that the boiler and other parts of the system may be removed today as evidence.
-- With reports from Journal staff writer Gregory Smith
Reporter's query: We’re trying to find more information about Ryan and the other people who died. If you know any of them, please call Linda Borg at 277-7823 or e-mail her at email@example.com.
Posted by Mike McKinney at 4:00 PM | Permalink
Dave | January 8, 2008 4:29 PM link
Check 'em, Danno | January 9, 2008 10:19 AM link
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