A 61-year-old Selden man was found dead in his upstairs bedroom Thursday, his home filled with unsafe levels of carbon monoxide, Suffolk homicide detectives said.
Thomas Melideo, of Rhonda Lane, was found unconscious at about 12:30 p.m. by a contractor working on the home, said Det. Sgt. William Lamb, who could not confirm that carbon monoxide had killed the victim, adding the theory is being investigated.
"He entered the residence and found the homeowner upstairs in the bedroom and he was unresponsive," Lamb said, adding that the contractor called the Selden Fire Department.
The investigation is the second within the past 10 days where carbon monoxide is suspected as the possible cause of death. Three people died on a houseboat in Huntington Harbor on March 23.
Lamb said the fire department detected high levels of carbon monoxide in the home, a result of fumes leaking out of a generator that was outside of the home.
Lamb said Melideo had been using the generator instead of utility-powered electricity because of a small fire in a bathroom on Saturday. Long Island Power Authority officials confirmed that power was turned off in the home Saturday after a request from the fire marshal's office. It was unclear who had turned on the generator.
The generator was being used for repairs linked to Saturday's fire. It was on for several hours, Lamb said, adding that the gas seeped in and filled the home. He said the generator was outside but close to the house.
When using a generator outside, the Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends keeping the equipment far away from buildings, particularly doors, vents or windows.
LIPA spokeswoman Vanessa Baird-Streeter said that a LIPA crew returned to the home Thursday at about 1:30 p.m. at the request of an electrician who had approved restoration, but they found police and fire officials at the scene. Fire officials detected a carbon monoxide level of 100 parts per million, adding that gas masks are required if levels reach 15 parts per million. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless and poisonous gas.
Neighbors recalled hearing the generator recently.
"I heard it running last night," said Steven Vanturini, who grew up on the block and said Melideo had lived there for more than 30 years. "It is a crazy accident."
Neelam Sharma, a five-year resident, said she'd often see Melideo in his yard and that the two exchanged waves.