A mistake while trying to unclog ice from his home's propane heating system ventilation led to the carbon monoxide poisoning death of a western Minnesota man, authorities said Wednesday.
Thomas Elkin, 67, of rural Vergas, was identified by the Otter Tail County Sheriff's Office as the person who died Monday in his home.
Elkin's wife, Teresa Elkin, 66, and two paramedics called to the scene also fell ill from the carbon monoxide and were flown to Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis, which is equipped with a hyperbaric chamber.
"They are expected to make a speedy recovery," a Sheriff's Office statement read.
Two sheriff's deputies and two firefighters also became ill, and they were treated at a nearby hospital and released, the Sheriff's Office said.
"It was determined that the exhaust vent for the building's propane heating system has become plugged with ice," the Sheriff's Office statement read, "and in trying to fix the problem, [Thomas] Elkin had removed a safety feature from the heating system, causing the system to vent exhaust directly into the building."
Poisoning from carbon monoxide, which is odorless and colorless, occurs when the gas builds up from an idling motor, generator or faulty motor exhaust system. Symptoms include headaches, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain and confusion.