Maywood couple, 80 and 78, die after furnace malfunctions, overheats home

Two Maywood residents, an 80-year-old man and 78-year-old woman, died Sunday when a malfunctioning furnace overheated their home, officials said.

Leevell Robinson and Ora Robinson, of the 1200 block of South 15th Avenue in Maywood, were found unresponsive in their home by a relative who then phoned 911 about 2 p.m., according to information from the Cook County medical examiner’s office and Maywood Fire Chief Craig Bronaugh. The chief said a fire crew was dispatched to the home by an emergency call-taker after the 911 call, during which the caller also said the home was excessively hot and “that they had just gotten a new furnace.”

Leevell Robinson, 80, was pronounced dead at the home at 2:27 p.m., officials said. Ora Robinson, 78, was taken to Loyola University Medical Center where she was pronounced dead at 6:49 p.m.

“The temperature was extremely warm on the inside of the house. We found two people unconscious in their beds in extremely high heat conditions,” Bronaugh said. “Unfortunately, neither regained consciousness.”

Autopsies were performed Monday and the medical examiner’s office determined each died as a result of a malfunctioning furnace with underlying health issues as contributing factors. Leevell Robinson’s cause of death was “environmental heat exposure” and he also suffered from hypertension and heart disease. Ora Robinson’s cause of death was listed as hyperthermia, also related to the malfunctioning furnace. She suffered from hypertension, heart disease and diabetes, according to the medical examiner’s office.

The manner of both deaths was accidental, according to the medical examiner’s office. A Maywood police spokeswoman said investigators were notified and found no evidence suggesting foul play.

Bronaugh said the dispatcher told the 911 caller to get out of the home in case the unresponsive couple was suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning, but it later was determined that wasn’t the case.

“We did a manual shutdown of the furnace system” upon arrival, he said. “We also conducted carbon monoxide readings and we did not find elevated levels in the home.”

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