Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

Local News

December 5, 2012

Couple die from carbon monoxide poisoning

CLAREMONT — Richland County officials said Tuesday there is no indication the couple found dead in bed Sunday afternoon died from anything other than accidental carbon monoxide poisoning.

    Barry Bergbower, 48, and wife Erin, 36, were pronounced dead at 1:03 p.m. Sunday at a cabin the couple owned near Claremont. Mrs. Bergbower was the former Erin Sparks of Newton.

    Deputy Coroner Jeff Gray said a friend found the Bergbowers at around noon after they did not answer phone calls Sunday morning. He added the couple was known to spend time at their “hideaway” in a rural area just a few miles from their primary home, also in rural Claremont.

    Claremont is several miles east of Olney. Autopsy results on the couple are still pending. But Gray said authorities have ruled out any foul play or suicide.

    Gray said authorities did note the presence of carbon monoxide-emitting propane in a confined space. Many small cabins use propane as a light and heat source. Gray said the valve was open on a propane-fueled light in the cabin when authorities arrived.

    Gray said no carbon monoxide detectors were found in the home. Effingham firefighter Tasha Lange said a working CO detector is a must for any home with gas appliances and/or an attached garage.

    In fact, Lange said, such detectors are required by law. She said the detectors should be located near sleeping areas. Batteries, she said, should be changed twice a year, just as with smoke detectors.

    Lange added any gas appliances should be checked by certified technicians.

    EFD Capt. Jeff Landers said hydrogen sulfide batteries are another potential source of CO. He said those batteries are used in sump pumps and are often found as backup power sources for computers.

    Bill Grimes can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 132, or at bill.grimes@effinghamdailynews.com.

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