- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 29, 2016

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - Exhaust pipes designed to funnel carbon monoxide from a boiler had rusted and collapsed in the Wilmington apartment complex where four people were found dead last week, state officials say.

The state of the exhaust system in the building forced wasted gas from the boiler to enter the mechanical room, which is right beneath the two apartments where the people died, Alex Rittberg, environmental programs administrator with the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, told The News Journal (https://delonline.us/1MQ1Rh2). Two of the boilers in the apartment complex, including the one in the building where the deaths occurred, are being replaced, he said.

Officials with the department toured the apartment building Monday and found several items that needed to be replaced, such as leaky pipes, the newspaper reported.

The dead were identified by police as Carl Dunfee, 60, Veronica Mousely, 58, Andrew Spanakos, 72, and Nancy Uniacke, 56. Five adults and three children who became ill were hospitalized.

Police had previously said emergency responders detected elevated levels of carbon monoxide when they arrived Friday at the Evergreen at Riverfront Heights complex. They have cited an “environmental issue” as a possible cause of the deaths but have not yet determined an official cause.

The boiler in the building was inspected most recently in May 2014 and passed, according to documents obtained by The News Journal. Boilers in Delaware are required to be inspected every two years.

Building and county officials allowed some residents to return to their units, but warned they were doing so at their own risk. The Red Cross has helped some evacuated families find shelter.

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Information from: The News Journal of Wilmington, Del., https://www.delawareonline.com

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