Landlord: Teen killed by CO poisoning in Perth Amboy was visiting family

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A 13-year-old girl who succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning in Perth Amboy Thursday was visiting family members, according to the building’s landlord.

“I have kids, and you understand people's loss. It's terrible. And you know our thoughts and prayers go out to the family. And everybody in the building,” says landlord Michael Watts.

A clay liner within the chimney of the apartment building located at 185 Fayette St. collapse, blocking the flow of the carbon monoxide exhaust. This caused high levels to build up inside the building.

RELATED: 13-year-old dies from apparent carbon monoxide poisoning

Many of the residents inside the building were treated for carbon monoxide exposure. Three residents are in critical condition, including the 13-year-old girl’s sister.

Watts says that the two girls were visiting from the Dominican Republic.

The landlord says that he tests the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors every month in the building and indicated that the detectors were working in December. But he also says that some residents take the batteries out so they can cook or smoke in their apartments. 

A Perth Amboy spokeswoman only said that the detectors were not working Thursday.

Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless and tasteless gas. Dr. Robert Sweeney from Jersey Shore Medical Center tells News 12 New Jersey that early symptoms of poisoning can be just a simple headache, but treatment at the hospital is necessary.

“What carbon monoxide does is it binds with your blood cells and does not allow your blood cells to carry oxygen to your vital organs,” he says. “The way they overcome that is by giving high concentrations of oxygen.”

The residents won't be allowed to return to the building for several days and are staying at hotels. The city is not issuing any violations and calls this a tragic accident.

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