Do you have a carbon monoxide monitor in your home? What about your vacation home? In the wake of a carbon monoxide related accident that has left four young people dead—it might be something you need to consider more seriously.
Four young residents of Massachusetts were staying at a family vacation home in Byron, Maine at the Coos Canyon Campground when they were discovered to be unresponsive on Friday night, July 17th. According to preliminary reports by investigators who arrived on scene, the residents visiting the cabin plugged a refrigerator into a backup generator located in the basement of the home and sometime after that, they all went to sleep. This occurred on Tuesday night—and it is presumed that the four victims passed away sometime during that night due to the poisonous, undetectable gas that escaped from the generator. Police responding to the call said that they could not immediately find a carbon monoxide detector anywhere inside of the cabin. They went on to say that if there had been a monitor located anywhere inside the home, it very likely would have saved their lives.
The four victims have been identified as 21 year old Brooke Wakelin from Attleboro, Massachusetts and her boyfriend, 23 year old Keith Norris also from Attleboro, Massachusetts. As well as 18 year old Matthew Wakelin, brother of victim Brooke Wakelin, and his 22 year old friend Deanna Lee Powers, both of whom are from Mansfield, Massachusetts. The father of Brooke and Matthew Wakelin, whose family owns the cabin, made the heartbreaking discovery on Friday when he made the trip up to Maine to find out why he had not heard from his kids since their arrival on Tuesday. Upon entering the residence, Mr. Wakelin discovered the bodies of his daughter Brooke and her boyfriend Keith in an upstairs bedroom, as well as the body of their pet beagle as well. He searched the downstairs bedrooms of the residence and further discovered the bodies of his son Matthew and his friend Deanna in separate rooms. Since the cabin did not have any electricity (which is what led the four victims to use the backup generator in the first place) Mr. Wakelin jumped onto a four-wheeler vehicle and drove immediately to a nearby cabin where he telephoned local police.
Matthew Wakelin just recently graduated from high school. Brooke Wakelin would have celebrated her 22nd birthday on Saturday. A week of celebration and fun turned into tragedy in a matter of just a few hours. Situations like these can unfortunately happen to anyone and at any time. In light of this recent tragedy, police officers in Maine are encouraging residents in their states and all others to become more acutely aware of how dangerous carbon monoxide can be. It is not detectable via scent, taste, or sight—therefore the only way to truly protect yourself against this gas is to install a device that has the capability of detecting its presence. It could be the difference between life and death. A firefighter from nearby Paris, Maine by the name of Bailey Keating has said “We still see tragedies all the time, and the message needs to keep getting out there to prevent them.”
Maine law states that only homes that have been constructed after 2012 are required to have carbon monoxide monitors inside them. This accident has made officials aware that their laws need to be seriously reconsidered. And while it may be difficult to keep track of which residences have these monitors installed and which don’t, policemen and firefighters alike believe that installing one is worth the investment. With the average model running at about $40, it’s an extremely small price to pay in order to secure your safety and the safety of your loved ones.
The tragic and horrifying story of these young victims should hopefully be a wake up call to everyone to either purchase or check the batteries of their Carbon Monoxide detectors in their homes. This simple act just may save a life.
Quotes and additional information can be found at the following links: http://www.necn.com/news/new-england/4-Dead-of-Apparent-Carbon-Monoxide-Poisoning-316724571.html