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Police identify man who died, cause of carbon monoxide leak in Oak Brook mansion

Published: Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014 1:41 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, July 25, 2014 4:43 a.m. CDT
Caption
Oak Brook Fire Chief Gary Clark (left) and Oak Brook Police Chief James Kruger give an update Thursday Village Hall on the victims of a carbon monoxide leak at 2900 Oak Brook Hills Road. (Danny Ciamprone - dciamprone@shawmedia.com).

OAK BROOK – A recently serviced water heater was likely the cause of the carbon monoxide leak at the Oak Brook mansion where a man was found dead Thursday morning, according to police.

Pei Yeh, 84, died and seven other females ranging in ages from 20s to 70s were injured after Oak Brook police and fire responded to a report of subjects who were experiencing breathing problems.

At 9:46 a.m. Thursday, large levels of carbon monoxide were located within the mansion at 2900 Oak Brook Hills Road after crews arrived on the scene.

The homeowner reported having one of the home's water heaters serviced recently, and it was determined that the water heater was the "proximate" cause of the leak, the release said. The investigation also revealed that the carbon monoxide detectors in the home where not functioning at the time of the incident.

The DuPage County State's Attorney's Office will not be filing criminal charges at this time, the release said.

“At this time no foul play is expected,” Oak Brook Police Chief James Kruger said Thursday.

Kruger said the females located were in “various states of health” and were transported to Good Samaritan Hospital.

Kruger said Thursday there was an indoor pool that was located in the residence where the highest level of carbon monoxide was discovered.

Oak Brook Fire Chief Gary Clark said upon arrival there were numerous members of the household who had medical complaints and disorientation, which led crews to believe carbon monoxide was the cause. Clark said carbon monoxide levels were exceeding 1,000 parts per million.

“At that point they evacuated the residence and [crews] put on their breathing apparatus and monitored the whole home,” Clark said.

Clark said crews then shut off the gas to the home and began ventilating the structure, which he estimated was about 15,000 square feet.

“It's an extremely large home, multiple levels,” Clark said.

Carbon monoxide levels that exceed 35 parts per million over a long period can start to cause health problems, Clark said.

“Once you get up to 200 parts per million you're going to start exhibiting symptoms a lot sooner,” he said. “At 400 parts per million, if you're at that level for one or two hours, you could get a serious headache and it could be life threatening after three hours. At 800 parts per million, it would take 45 minutes and then you would start experiencing dizziness and nausea and convolutions.”

Clark said the home had several furnaces, a boiler and multiple hot water heaters.

Kruger said, of the victims, some were related while there were some staff who had just arrived. It was Kruger's understanding that one of the victims was treated and ready to be released, but did not have any information on the level of injury.

Five of the females affected by the carbon monoxide were 23, 26, 50, 55 and 59. Two of the victim's ages have not yet been identified.

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