A well-known Hometown couple succumbed to carbon monoxide over the weekend, after police say their car appeared to be left running inside their garage, permeating the home with exhaust fumes.
Nicholas "Nick", 87, and Anna Mae Young, 88, were pronounced dead in their home at 2 Welsh Road by a Schuylkill County deputy coroner.
The couple was found Sunday by one of their children.
Rush Township Police Sgt. Duane Frederick said Anna Mae was discovered in her bedroom while Nicholas was found in a nearby bathroom.
"It appears the couple were out Saturday, returned home, put their car in the garage and forgot to turn the engine off," said Frederick.
He added that the couple went to bed later, and at some point, Nicholas felt ill, got up and went to the bathroom, where he succumbed to the carbon monoxide fumes, which are odorless.
"He probably got sick and was only able to make it to the bathroom," said Frederick. "The cause of death was determined as accidental, and there were no signs of foul play or indications to make investigators think otherwise."
Frederick added, "There was nothing suspicious."
Some of the organizations the couple volunteered with consisted of the St. Luke's Hospital in Coaldale, Tamaqua Rotary Club, Tamaqua Salvation Army, American Red Cross, First United Methodist Church in Tamaqua and Meals On Wheels.
Nicholas Young also served as a guidance counselor with the Tamaqua Area School District.
He was also well known as a play by play announcer for Tamaqua's basketball and football games since the 1970's.
"On the radio, you have to paint the picture with words, and Nick did the painting," said Pat Morgans, one of the broadcast partners who worked with Young over the years.
"It was Nick that got me into broadcasting," noted Morgans. "Actually, my first time on the radio with Nick was when he had a show on Saturday mornings where he interviewed coaches, and he interviewed me when I was baseball coach at Marian."
Young has been around Tamaqua basketball most of his life. During his 41-year teaching career at Tamaqua High, Young coached the sport from 1950, starting as a junior varsity coach under the late Eli "Pinkey" Purnell, through a stint as head coach from 1968-71, during which the Blue Raiders were members of the East Penn League.
Nicholas also served as Tamaqua's high school guidance counselor.
In a prior TIMES NEWS story about Nick, he added that he worked with many broadcast partners, such as the Rev. Clarence "Russ" Funk, Morgans, Jim DePew, Steve Ristila, Bernie Forgotch, Mark Marek and Joe Plasko.
During the firefighters' response Sunday, an exhaust fan was used to clear out the poisonous gas so investigators could enter the building safely.
Hometown firefighters, Rush Township Fire Police and Tamaqua EMS assisted at the scene.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention website states that red blood cells pick up carbon monoxide, also called CO, quicker than they pick up oxygen.
If there is a lot of CO in the air, the body may replace oxygen in blood with CO.
This blocks oxygen from getting into the body, which can damage tissues and result in death.
It adds that the most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, chest pain, vomiting and confusion.
High levels of CO inhalation can cause loss of consciousness and death.
Unless suspected, CO poisoning can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms mimic other illnesses. People who are sleeping or intoxicated can die from CO poisoning before ever experiencing symptoms.