Carbon monoxide poisoning kills 4 in Floral Park

James Galloway

A Buick left running in a Floral Park, Queens garage killed four people from apparent carbon monoxide poisoning last Friday.

Jerry Hugel, 83, was found dead in the garage, his wife, Marry Hugel, 80, was found dead in the kitchen, and tenant Gloria Greco, 70, and friend Walter Von Thadden, 76, were found dead upstairs.

The Hugels’ son, an officer in the New York City Police Department, found the bodies when he went to check on his parents.

The home did not have a carbon monoxide detector, despite a 2009 state law mandating detectors, the New York Times reported.

Amanda’s Law, named after a 16-year-old Buffalo girl killed by carbon monoxide poisoning, requires homes built before 2008 to have battery-operated detectors.

A neighbor told CBS that the Hugels had recently celebrated their 60th anniversary.

“So pleasant to talk to — they loved their garden. They always sat in their yard in the spring and summertime,” Teresa Kepertis said. “Just nice people.”

Greco, a retired secretary at Zucker Hillside Hospital, rented the top floor for the Hugels’ home for six years to shorten her commute, according to the Times.  

A relative told the Times that Greco was a “very giving and wonderful woman.”

A firefighter was also hospitalized in the incident, New York City Councilman Mark Weprin told CBS in a statement.

“My thoughts and prayers go out to the friends and families of the victims,” Weprin said, according to CBS. “It is my hope that this tragedy sheds light on the importance of having, and maintaining, a carbon monoxide detector in all homes and apartments.”

Colorless and odorless, carbon monoxide comes from the incomplete burning of fuels, including coal, propane, oil and natural gas, the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website says.

“Never leave a car running in an attached garage, even with the garage door open,” says the website.

Between 1999 and 2010, more than 5,000 people died from non-fire-related carbon monoxide poisoning, an average of about 430 people per year, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Death rates were highest among people over the age of 65.  

Severe symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include vomiting, confusion and loss of muscular coordination.  

In February 2014, a carbon monoxide leak from the heating system in a Huntington restaurant, Legal Sea Food, killed one man and injured 19.  

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