UPDATE: Medical Examiner Confirms Man Dies from Carbon Monoxide After Using Oven as Heat
According to the Milwaukee Medical Examiner, John Fleming died on October 6 from acute carbon monoxide toxicity. The 55-year-old was found unresponsive in his apartment by his sister and when the Milwaukee Fire Department arrived on scene they noted a reading over 500 parts per million on their carbon monoxide detectors when they entered the deceased's apartment.
Fleming’s sister told officials she last spoke to John via the telephone and John was complaining of being cold at that time. Allegedly, Fleming had been using the stove in the kitchen of his apartment as a heat source to heat the apartment. The heat in the apartment had not been turned on and is controlled by the building.
Fleming’s sister went to check on him on October 6 as she does every day and unlocked the apartment door with a key she had and found John lying unresponsive in a supine position on his bed with his head on his pillow.
The responding fire engine’s carbon monoxide detectors were detecting lethal levels of carbon monoxide in John's apartment and quickly removed John from the apartment on the third floor.
The responding fire fighters never went into the kitchen to see if the stove/oven was on to heat the apartment and the stove/oven in the kitchen was not in their clear view of sight. The natural gas line was shut off before anyone entered the apartment again.
Fleming was in asystole, a king airway was established, an IV was administered to the upper right tibia, five rounds of epinephrine were given, CPR was performed and 400cc of saline fluid was infused. John remained in asystole throughout the resuscitative efforts and paramedics pronounced him dead just after 8:00 PM.
WE Energies personnel came to the residence to assess the stove/oven in the kitchen and determined it had a malfunction of an internal part that was leaking natural gas. They could not pin point the exact part that malfunctioned, but all the connections of the natural gas to the stove/oven and to the wall were intact and not tampered with.
Examiners noted no trauma. The Medical Examiner observed no evidence of any illicit drug, alcohol or medication abuse.