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Cops ID 3 Huntington houseboat victims overcome by fumes

Three people were pronounced dead after being found

Three people were pronounced dead after being found unresponsive Tuesday on a houseboat in Huntington Harbor off West Shore Road, police said. (March 23, 2010) Photo Credit: Steve Silverman

Two men and a woman were pronounced dead at Huntington Hospital last night after they were found unconscious on a houseboat in Huntington Harbor, Suffolk Police said.

Det. Sgt. Thomas Groneman, of the Suffolk police homicide squad, said the victims were apparently overcome by noxious fumes.

The three victims were transported to Huntington Hospital, where they were pronounced dead. The victims were identified as Juan Torres, 43, of Huntington Station, Patrick Franklin, 45, of Port Jefferson and his wife, Susan, 44.

"We suspect carbon monoxide poisoning," Groneman said after coming back from a preliminary investigation of the houseboat. "There was a gasoline generator on the boat."

Police received a 911 call at about 8:53 p.m. and two officers used a dinghy to row out to the houseboat and check on the condition of the three people, according to the police report.

Friends of the victims had earlier asked that the person check on the three after they had not been heard from for some time following an evening on the houseboat, police said.

The houseboat was about 200 feet offshore in the harbor near the intersection of West Shore Road and Margo Lane, police said. The area is popular with clam and pleasure boaters amid dozens of moored vessels.

The first Suffolk police officers on the scene used a rowboat to get out to the vessel and upon seeing the three unconscious people immediately started performing CPR, Groneman said. Other emergency units quickly arrived by water and land and the victims were transported to Huntington Hospital, where they were pronounced dead at 9:30 p.m., Groneman said.

The white, 38-foot houseboat was expected to be taken to the Suffolk Police Marine Bureau headquarters for a forensic examination, Groneman said.

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