City takes new initiatives following CO deaths

Three carbon monoxide deaths in Newburgh have prompted the city to take new initiatives to ensure a tragedy like this doesn't happen again. Jewell Cummings,

Officials say the building had a blocked chimney and no carbon monoxide detectors.

Officials say the building had a blocked chimney and no carbon monoxide detectors. (3/16/15)

NEWBURGH - Three carbon monoxide deaths in Newburgh have prompted the city to take new initiatives to ensure a tragedy like this doesn't happen again.

Jewell Cummings, a 65-year-old retired bus driver, was the first to be found last Wednesday at 55 Lander St. from what was thought to be a heart attack. When her 63-year-old companion Robert Richardson was found dead the next day, officials found off-the-meter levels of the deadly gas.

James Patterson lived on the second floor of the now-condemned building. The Newburgh native, along with a dozen of his neighbors, had no idea they were breathing in carbon monoxide.

Patterson was hospitalized, but officials say the man known locally as "Dougie" never recovered and died Friday from the exposure. Neighbors told News 12 that they are deeply upset by yet another loss.

Officials say the building had a blocked chimney and no carbon monoxide detectors. They say the landlord died in December, causing tenants to make the deadly mistake of fixing a heating problem on their own.

The tragedy has prompted city officials to perform annual rental inspections. Code enforcement officers are now wearing personal carbon monoxide detectors.

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