Broken Vent Could Be Cause of Carbon Monoxide Deaths

Wednesday, Apr 6, 2011  |  Updated 5:30 PM EDT
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Jersey City officials also investigate whether a third death is linked.

Jersey City officials also investigate whether a third death is linked.

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A damaged water heater on the roof of a Jersey City, N.J., apartment building appears to have caused the lethal levels of carbon monoxide that leaked into an apartment, killing two tenants about a month apart, Hudson County officials said Wednesday.

Inspectors looking at the vent found that it was installed properly but could have been damaged from heavy snowfall over the winter.

"That is a possible explanation," Hudson County Prosecutor Edward DeFazio said. 

DeFazio confirmed that both people who died of CO poisoning had lived in the same unit.  That apartment did not have a carbon monoxide detector as required by law.

Rosaria Ferraras-Matos, 24, was found dead in her apartment on Monday. She had moved into the apartment on Sunday and her body was surrounded by her unpacked belongings, officials said.

About a month earlier, Arthur Galloway, 48, was found dead in the same unit. It wasn't until after Ferraras-Matos' autopsy did investigators uncover that Galloway had also died of carbon monoxide poisoning.

The owner of the building, Farouk Tadrous, did not immediately comment.

He faces several code violations by the Jersey City Fire Department. 

"At this point, there are no criminal charges," DeFazio said.  But he stressed that "the investigation is ongoing."

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