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Man dead, woman hospitalized from suspected carbon monoxide poisoning in Cecil County

Man dead, woman hospitalized from suspected carbon monoxide poisoning in Cecil County
Man dead, woman hospitalized from suspected carbon monoxide poisoning in Cecil County 00:34

BALTIMORE - A 59-year-old man is dead and a woman was taken to a local hospital in critical condition after being found in their Earleville home with signs of carbon monoxide poisoning Saturday afternoon. 

Cecilton Volunteer Fire Department and Cecil County Department of Emergency Services paramedics arrived at 12 Florida Avenue in Crystal Beach around 12:45 p.m. after family members went to check on the couple.  

The Maryland State Fire Marshall said when family members arrived, they found Steven Hannaford unresponsive in the living room and his girlfriend, Maria Florczyk, 65, in a bedroom, shivering and disoriented.  

They called 911 and soon were taken to a nearby hospital by an ambulance. Hannaford was later pronounced dead. 

Cecil County Sheriff's Office and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner requested the Office of the State Fire Marshall to inspect the scene after initially arriving.  

They discovered the home had no electricity, a strong odor of kerosene inside, and soot-covered walls, the State Fire Marshall said. 

Deputy State Fire Marshalls discovered the only source of heat was coming from a kerosene heater, that the heater's chimney was not seated properly, and the fuel inside had run dry.  

Investigators believe the carbon monoxide caused the death from the incomplete combustion of the kerosene heater. However, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has not officially determined this as the cause.  

"Routine maintenance and safe operation of heating equipment, combined with properly installed and operating smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, and practicing your home escape plans are a life-saving combination for all Marylanders," acting State Fire Marshall Jason M Mowbray said. 

The office of the State Fire Marshall wants to remind you that though kerosene heaters are generally effective at burning fuel to produce heat, some pollutants, such as carbon monoxide, are created in the process. Individuals with chronic respiratory or circulatory problems should be especially careful with such heaters.  

To ensure that you and your family members are not exposed to significant levels of these pollutants, the Office of the State Fire Marshal suggests the following:  

  • If you use kerosene fuel-fired heaters, use only "K-1" kerosene fuel. Never fill the unit inside; remove it to the structure's exterior after it has cooled before refueling. Note: Portable kerosene heaters are banned for use in Baltimore City. 

  • Operate your heater in a room with a door open to the rest of the house.  

  • Open an outside window approximately one inch to permit fresh air. 

  • Always use your heater according to the manufacturer's instructions. Ensure that the wick is set at the proper level, as instructed by the manufacturer.  

  • Ensure the wick in your heater is clean and in good operating condition by following the cleaning and maintenance procedures recommended by the manufacturer. 

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