Published On: Thu, Jun 24th, 2010

Carbon monoxide blamed for killing one, sickening six, at Bocaire Country Club

BOCA RATON – Carbon monoxide is suspected of taking the life of one man and sickening six others – including his wife – at their home in the Bocaire development June 19, said investigators.

Officials with Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue received a 911 call about 9:45 a.m. from a caregiver who had been called to the home of Hyman H. Portnoy, 89, and his wife, Elaine E. Sommer-Portnoy, 87.  She told fire rescue officials she had become ill, as had a caregiver who arrived earlier.

Paramedics arrived and took the Portnoys to Delray Medical Center where Hyman Portnoy died.  His wife was reported to be seriously ill and was undergoing treatment.

Investigators suspect that a car was left running in the garage overnight, causing the home to fill with lethal carbon monoxide gas.

According to reports, the Portnoys called a caregiver about 3:30 a.m. to say they were feeling ill.  That caregiver also became ill and called another person to relieve her about 8:30 a.m.   The second caregiver called 911, officials said.

Three paramedics who arrived to help also became ill and had to leave and call for backup. Officials said the firefighters were vomiting and realized the air was saturated with carbon monoxide, so they removed everyone from the house.

While the Portnoys were taken to Delray Medical, the two caregivers and three firefighers were transported to West Boca Medical for evaluation. The firefighters were released after doctors determined they were not seriously affected by the carbon monoxide and have been released from the hospital.

Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office officials said Hyman Portnoy returned about 3:30 p.m. June 18 from getting a haircut and apparently left the car running in the garage.  Investigators said the car’s gas tank empty and the battery was dead.

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