Propane lamps caused Hay River carbon monoxide deaths

Propane lamps produced the carbon monoxide that killed two people in a Hay River cabin last fall, according to an N.W.T. coroner's report.

Cabin rented by couple had no carbon monoxide detector

Propane lamps caused carbon monoxide deaths 2:20

Propane lamps produced the carbon monoxide that killed two people in a Hay River cabin last fall, according to an N.W.T. coroner's report.

Robert Bradley, 52, and his common-law wife, Brenda Laviolette-Rapp, 58, were found dead in a cabin at the Mountain Aven Campground on Oct. 13. The couple was renting the cabin for the Thanksgiving long weekend.

A cabin at the Mountain Aven Campground where Robert Bradley, 52, and his common-law wife, Brenda Laviolette-Rapp, 58, died Oct. 13. (CBC)

They arrived on the Saturday and visited with others that night over a campfire before heading to bed. The owner of the cabin called police after Bradley and Laviolette-Rapp failed to answer the door on the Sunday afternoon​.

The couple was found dead inside the cabin and toxicology tests showed they died from carbon monoxide poisoning.

The coroner's investigation focused on the cabin's propane appliances. It found that all of the propane appliances were installed professionally and were working properly, but when the propane lamps were set on low, carbon monoxide built up to lethal levels in the airtight cabin within eight hours.

N.W.T. Chief Coroner Cathy Menard says there was no carbon monoxide detector in the cabin.

"We have to make sure that we have the safety equipment that could prevent a tragedy from occurring and those early alarm warnings are definitely a lifesaver," she said.

Two winters ago five people were found dead in a Whitehorse home. 

The cause was a blocked chimney.

Last year the Yukon Government passed a law requiring every home with a fuel-burning appliance or attached garage to have a carbon monoxide detector.

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