Police say a man arrived home at this Brampton, Ont., house to find carbon monoxide alarms ringing and five members of his family unconscious. Three were pronounced dead in hospital, two are expected to survive. Police say propane heaters were in use in the home after the furnace stopped working on Sunday. Steven Bull/CBC
Police believe carbon monoxide caused the deaths of three members of the same Brampton, Ont., family early Monday when propane heaters were brought into the home after the furnace stopped working in frigid conditions.
"It's just a tragedy … a terrible situation," Peel Regional Police Const. Fiona Thivierge told reporters Monday.
Just before 2 a.m. Monday, emergency services were called to a house on Linden Crescent, in the Dixie Road and Queen Street area. The 911 call was made by a 29-year-old resident of the house, who arrived home to find carbon monoxide detectors activated and members of his family unconscious.
Five people were taken to hospital, where three were pronounced dead. Two others remain in hospital and are expected to survive.
It's believe the victims are all members of the same extended family.
A woman, 59, and her husband, 60, are confirmed dead, along with their 36-year-old son.
Two other men, aged 56 and 66, are being treated in hospital.
Police believe the family's furnace stopped working Sunday, and at some point, propane heaters were brought inside to heat the home. Overnight temperatures Sunday dipped to –15 C range with wind chills in the mid –20s.
Police say those who died were in the upper level of the home, while the survivors were on the lower level.
"We would caution people to not bring propane heaters into their house," said Thivierge. "It's a very dangerous situation."
Shortly after 9 a.m. Monday, Brampton Fire and Emergency Services issued a warning on Twitter about the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning.
"This tragedy shows that it you should never use propane appliances in the home," said the tweet. "If your furnace goes out call for repair."
The coroner's office has taken over the investigation.
During December's ice storm in southern Ontario, carbon monoxide poisoning was blamed for a number of deaths and near deaths as people tried to stay warm during extended power outages.
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