A tragic Arizona death shocked residents of Coconino County when authorities found a family of four dead in a cabin on New Year’s Day, after the building’s heating system failed.
The Coconino Country Sheriff’s Office identified the family as Megan Capitano and Anthony Capitano, both 32 years old, alongside son Lincoln, four years old, and daughter Kingsley, three years old. The family was staying for a few days at a cabin owned by a friend of the family.
Local authorities were alerted to the tragic Arizona death when they received a call from a friend of the Capitano family a little after noon. The friend said the family’s relatives had been trying to make contact with the Capitanos “for a few days with no success.” They became concerned and wanted to check through official channels.
Tragic Arizona death likely caused by gas appliance
Image source: Ponderosa Fire Department
A deputy from the sheriff’s office arrived at the cabin less than an hour after he received the call. He reported a strong odour of gas coming from the cabin and called for the Ponderosa Fire Department.
Fire officials, equipped with protective breathing equipment, entered the cabin and discovered the grisly scene.
“We believe possibly carbon monoxide poisoning malfunction in the heater or any other gas appliance in the residence. We have not determined what that was exactly yet,” Jon Paxton of the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office said.
According to the sheriff’s office, a contractor found a “significant failure” in the cabin’s heating system consistent with carbon monoxide overwhelming the structure. The cabin’s heating unit was the only gas appliance in the building.
A community in mourning at this tragic Arizona death
Image source: Facebook
Friends, family, and neighbours took to social media to mourn the tragic Arizona death of the Capitanos family.
“He loved his family, he loved his children, just a great example to follow,” Daniel Matlock said of his friend, Anthony.
“So tragic, an all around good family taken far too soon. RIP Tony & Megan Capitano along with your two beautiful children,” one user said of the tragic Arizona death.
“Four of the most beautiful souls I have ever witnessed are gone from here way too soon. My heart cries for you. I will spend everyday of the rest of my life trying to be half the mom, wife and friend you were. I hope I can live my life as fully as you and Tony did,” another said.
How to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning
The cabin’s owner could have prevented this tragic Arizona death had they checked and properly maintained the structure.
In order to prevent a tragedy like this, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention enumerated the following guidelines that your family can use to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning in your home.
You can read their full list regarding carbon monoxide (CO) here.
- Install a battery-operated or battery back-up CO detector in your home. Place your detector where it will wake you up if it alarms, such as outside your bedroom.
- Consider buying a detector with a digital readout. This detector can tell you the highest level of CO concentration in your home in addition to sounding an alarm.
- Replace your CO detector every five years.
- Have your heating system, water heater, and any other gas, oil, or coal burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year.
- Do not use portable flameless chemical heaters indoors.
- If you smell an odour from your gas refrigerator have an expert service it. An odour from your gas refrigerator can mean it could be leaking CO.
- Only buy gas equipment carrying the seal of a national testing agency.
Proper ventilation saves lives
- Make sure your gas appliances are vented properly.
- Never patch a vent pipe with tape, gum, or something else. This kind of patch can make CO build up in your home, cabin, or camper.
- Never burn charcoal indoors. Burning charcoal – red, gray, black, or white – gives off CO.
- Never use a portable gas camp stove indoors. Using a gas camp stove indoors can cause CO to build up inside your home, cabin, or camper.
- Never use a generator inside your home, basement, or garage or less than 20 feet from any window, door, or vent.
- When using a generator, use a battery-powered or battery backup CO detector in your home.
Also read: 10-year-old boy killed by carbon monoxide leaked from fridge.