For Immediate Release - December 08, 2016

Public Safety Officials Offer Warning to Keep Warm, Keep Safe this Winter After Two Perish in Acushnet CO Incident

State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey, Acushnet Fire Chief A. Kevin and Acushnet Police Chief Michael G. Alves held a press conference to announce the furnace was the source of the carbon monoxide that killed two people yesterday at 3 Buttonwood Lane in Acushnet. Firefighters detected elevated levels of CO in the home when they arrived.

Police Chief Alves said, “We were called to home yesterday morning for a well-being check and discovered 41-year old Joseph Lopes and his 9-year son Collin overcome by carbon monoxide.”

Chief Gallagher said, “This is such a heartbreaking tragedy for the family and the community and the pain is always worse in the holiday season.” He added, “Sadly, there were no carbon monoxide alarms found inside the home to give them early warning of the danger.”

State Fire Marshal Ostroskey said, “Heating is the #1 cause of carbon monoxide poisoning in the home and as we enter the winter heating season, it’s important to have a professional tune-up your furnace to prevent problems, and to make sure you have working CO alarms on every level of the home and within ten feet of bedrooms.” He added, “We want everyone to Keep Warm, Keep Safe.”

Since 2006, state law has required carbon monoxide alarms in all homes with potential sources of carbon monoxide - those with fossil-fuel burning equipment or enclosed parking areas. “Nicole's Law”, named after 7-year old Nicole Garofalo who died on January 28, 2005 when her Plymouth home was filled with deadly amounts of carbon monoxide on January 24. The furnace vents had been blocked by snow during a power outage.

The incident was jointly investigated by the Acushnet Fire and Police Departments and State Police assigned to both the Office of the State Fire Marshal and to the Office of Bristol District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn.

For information, go to www.mass.gov/KeepWarmKeepSafe, or contact your local fire department.