Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Suspected in Death of Father and Daughter

Posted on February 2, 2021

Marion Co. Sheriff’s Office – 02/02/21 10:32 AM

On February 1st, 2021, at 10:46 a.m., a caller reported finding two people not breathing inside of a fifth wheel trailer at a property in the 5700 block of State Street, east of Salem.  The caller said they went to the location after not hearing from the people since Saturday.  When deputies and crews from Marion County Fire District #1 arrived at the scene, both people inside of the trailer were pronounced deceased.

Due to the suspicious nature of the deaths, detectives from the Marion County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Unit were called to the scene.  Detectives believe the two deaths were the result of carbon monoxide poisoning from a propane heater being used inside the trailer.  Two animals, a dog and a cat, were also found dead inside.

The victims have been identified as Richard Yaple, a 50-year-old Salem man, and his daughter Hannah Yaple, a 17-year-old female from Keizer.

According to the CDC, each year in the United States there are at least 430 accidental deaths due to carbon monoxide poisoning.  To help prevent these tragedies from occurring, we want to share some helpful safety tips:

  • Choose a propane heater that’s the right size for your room or space, and carries the Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) label.
  • Your indoor propane heater should have features such as a low oxygen sensor, high-temperature coated safety guard on the front, overheat protection and automatic shut-off if it tips over.
  • Carefully read manufacturer’s instructions before using your propane indoor space heater.
  • Make sure your propane indoor space heater is installed on a non-combustible surface away from where people walk and that it is positioned safely away from combustible materials such as furniture, curtains, doors, bedding and towels. If you use a wall-mounted room heater, make sure your wall material is non-combustible.
  • Never place anything on top of an indoor propane space heater.
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors in your home, or the space where you use your indoor propane space heater.
  • Never leave an indoor propane heater unattended. Turn the heater off when you leave the room. And make sure your propane indoor space heater is turned off before you go to bed.
  • If your propane indoor heater has a yellow or orange flame instead of a blue one, stop using it immediately because it is not burning properly.
  • Use your vacuum cleaner’s hose attachment to carefully vacuum up any dust on the outside of the propane indoor space heater and on the grills.
  • Never spray air fresheners, deodorants, aerosol spray cleaners or hair spray near an indoor propane space heater.
  • Have your vented propane indoor space heater inspected annually.
  • Make sure pathways to all of a space’s exits are clear when you’re using your indoor propane space heater.

The Marion County Sheriff’s Office was assisted during this response by Marion County Fire District #1, Marion County Medical Examiner’s Office, Marion County District Attorney’s Office, Marion County Dog Control, and Marion County Public Works.

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