Methuen man dies from CO poisoning after running generator overnight

METHUEN, Mass. — UPDATE: When this story originally ran at 6 p.m. the male victim was in critical condition. Just after 10 p.m. police confirmed to Boston 25 News that the he had died. He has been identified as 55-year-old Joseph Sholik.


ORIGINAL STORY: A Methuen couple nearly died Friday morning after they left a generator running in their basement, police told Boston 25 News.

It’s been two days since a powerful nor’easter hit southern New England. But, as of 6 p.m. Friday, there were still more than 100,000 people without power in Massachusetts. Most of those people are in the Merrimack Valley.

“It's devastating, it's devastating I mean you can't do anything,” Methuen resident Jerry Gauvin said. “I think they should be able to get it back faster than that, I just wonder if they have crews that are constantly working on the breakdowns.”

>>PREVIOUSCarbon monoxide poisoning a major risk for generator users

Gauvin and his wife Marie have been without power for two days, but they’ve been using the generator sparingly because they know the risks.

“We're only using the generator just to charge the phones,” he said.

However, a different couple in Methuen had a close call when they left a generator running overnight.

“In times of crisis sometimes people want to get the power on so quickly, that things happen that we're just no prepared for,” Methuen Police Sgt. James Moore said.

Moore said the husband and wife were rushed to the hospital for severe levels of carbon monoxide poisoning, and the husband is in critical condition.

Police are now warning all families to be extra careful if they're still using generators for power.

“Make sure that the generator is serviced and make sure that it's positioned properly away from the house, that's the biggest advice we can give people,” Moore said.

Sgt. Moore also says your generator should be at least ten feet away from your house and you should not use it while it's raining.

National grid says power may not be fully restored in Methuen until Sunday.