Investigators focus on furnace in Whitehorse deaths

The investigation into the deaths of five people in a home in Whitehorse has turned to the oil-fired boiler system used to heat the home.

Carbon monoxide levels in home 10 times higher than what would set off a detector

Flowers laid at the house in the Porter Creek neighbourhood yesterday where five people died, including two school-aged children. (CBC)
RCMP Sgt. Don Rogers, Yukon Coroner Sharon Hanley, Yukon Fire Marshal Dennis Berry and Whitehorse Fire Chief Clive Sparks respond to media questions Tuesday about the deaths. (CBC)

The investigation into the deaths of five people in a home in Whitehorse has turned to the oil-fired boiler system used to heat the home.

Fire Chief Clive Sparks says carbon monoxide levels in the home were 10 times what would set off a carbon monoxide detector, so investigators are looking at the heating system.

"Yes, the hot water oil-fired boiler system was operating when my crew entered the house and they did turn it off," he said at a news conference Tuesday.

The family members have been identified as Bradley Rusk, 45, his wife Valerie Rusk, 37, and their children Gabriel, 13, and Rebekah, 11. A boarder, Donald McNamee, 47, also died.

The Rusks were originally from communities near Edmonton.

Bradley Rusk was from Sherwood Park and his wife Valerie was from Warburg. They had been living in Whitehorse for about four years. McNamee was from Markham, Ont.

Officials believed they died Thursday or Friday.

RCMP Sgt. Don Rogers says the early investigation shows no criminal intent.

"We believe that this is a tragic accident," he said.

The investigation continues. Rogers said if new information comes to light, the question of charges is still there.

"Should circumstances change then we would evaluate what those changes are and make a determination," he said.

There’s no word on how long the probe will take.