Four friends died in their sleep in a Maine cabin last week while celebrating a birthday and a graduation. Oxford County Sheriff Wayne Gallant claims that a generator in the basement leaked carbon monoxide through the cabin that killed them on their first day visiting.
According to the Associated Press, their names were Keith Norris (age 23), Deanna Lee Powers (22), and Brooke and Matthew Wakelin (21 and 18). The four young college-age friends arrived from Massachusetts on Tuesday and were already dead the next morning. A generator was left on all night to power a refrigerator, and ultimately led to fatal carbon monoxide poisoning for all four people.
“More than likely it happened the first night there,” said Sheriff Gallant. “It’s a shocking and terrible reminder to people that carbon monoxide is dangerous.”
The sheriff used this opportunity to warn against using generators indoors for fear of carbon monoxide poisoning.
“You never have a generator in the house… In their excitement at being in the camp, it never occurred to them to bring it outside to use… It’s very tragic, just a terrible, terrible tragedy to happen to four young people.”
The group was in Maine to celebrate the 22nd birthday of Brooke Wakelin and the graduation of her brother Matthew. After all four were killed by carbon monoxide poisoning, their bodies spent days untouched in the beds of the cabin. The father of the Wakelins, who owned the cabin, eventually drove to the cabin to check on his children and found them dead. The family pet, a beagle, was also killed by carbon monoxide poisoning, according to the Boston Globe.
The father found his daughter and her boyfriend downstairs but did not know his son had also died until police arrived and located the body upstairs. The carbon monoxide filled the entire house from the basement up and eventually ran out of gas.
The authorities are confident that the group was killed by carbon monoxide poisoning, but a medical examiner is working to confirm the cause of death.
According to USA Today, carbon monoxide poisoning is a significant cause of death in the United States. Approximately 430 people died of carbon monoxide poisoning every year from 1999 to 2010.
Brooke Wakelin would have turned 22 years old today (Saturday, July 18).
For another story on carbon monoxide poisoning, read about the couple who died while having intercourse due to carbon monoxide poisoning in their vehicle.
[Image credit: Small Craft Advisor]