Sylvan Beach, NY — A woman has died and a Syracuse police officer is in critical condition in what state police said was a possible case of carbon monoxide poisoning aboard a boat in Sylvan Beach.
Blair M. Dodge, 34, of Central Square, and William R. LaShomb, 36, of Bridgeport, were staying overnight Sunday on a boat docked along the Erie Canal when they were stricken with carbon monoxide poisoning, said Trooper Jack Keller, a spokesman for the state police.
When Dodge didn’t show up for work Monday morning, her friends went looking for the couple.
Sylvan Beach firefighters found the couple on the boat, Keller said. State police were called to the scene around 2:30 p.m. Monday.
Dodge was pronounced dead on the boat.
LaShomb was found unconscious, but alive. He was rushed to an Oneida hospital before being airlifted to Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse, where he remains in critical condition.
LaShomb joined the Syracuse Police Department in 2008.
State police are investigating whether the boat’s engine or a portable space heater were the source of the carbon monoxide leak.
Police found no signs of trauma or any suspicious circumstances. The investigation remains ongoing.
A GoFundMe campaign to help Dodge’s family has already raised more than $32,000.
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas which can cause sudden illness and death, according the the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The gas is produced any time a fossil fuel is burned.
The most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion.
Carbon monoxide poisoning ranks fifth in known causes of death among boaters, according to the U.S. Coast Guard’s report on 2017 Recreational Boating Statistics. More than 800 people have been poisoned by boating-related carbon monoxide over a 15-year period, with over 140 of these poisonings resulting in fatalities, according to an earlier CDC report.