POLICE – Carbon monoxide gas suspected in deaths of four Venables Valley family members


‘… Foul play has been ruled out and the focus of the investigation is on a suspected occurrence of carbon monoxide gas in the residence’

Carbon monoxide poisoning is suspected as the cause of the deaths of four family members discovered in their Venables Valley home southwest of Ashcroft.

Media are identifying the victims through statements of family members as Harvey Volaine, his wife Melissa Penner, and their two boys, Kaylex, 10, and Ay, 7.

The bodies were found by RCMP in their home on Friday.  The home is located at Saranagati Village, a 1,600-acre Hare Krishna community of two dozen families about 30 km. from Ashcroft.

Two gofundme pages have also identified the family members.

The B.C. Coroners Service said today foul play has been ruled out and the investigation is currently focusing on carbon monoxide as a possible cause. It’s believed a faulty water heater might have been the source.

“Working with the assistance of the RCMP and B.C. Safety Authority, foul play has been ruled out and the focus of the investigation is on a suspected occurrence of carbon monoxide gas in the residence,” the coroners’ office stated.

“Toxocological examinations are underway with results expected late this week.”

The statement said the extended family has been notified of the deaths.

A statement issued on behalf of the Saranagati Village community expressed sympathy to family members. “This tragedy has deeply impacted family and community members, both adults and children beyond what words can convey,” read the statement.

“We send our most sincere condolences to family members of the deceased in this time of loss.”

One gofundme page asking for donations towards the costs of funeral services says, “With tremendous sadness we announce the sudden passing of Harvey Volaine, Melissa Penner and their two boys Kaylex (11) and Ay (6) on March 22, 2017 in Ashcroft BC. During this difficult time, the family will need help with the unexpected costs of funeral services for 4 people.”

The launch of a second gofundme page appears to have created some confusion as friends and family sort it out, with assurances that donations to both pages will go towards “opposite sides” of the family.

The Ashcroft Journal has reported that the two boys were students at Desert Sands Community School in Ashcroft.

In its statement, the Coroners Service added a warning on the potential dangers of carbon monoxide. “Carbon monoxide is an odourless and tasteless gas produced during the burning of any fossil fuel (gasoline, natural or propane gas, wood, etc.). The use of a carbon monoxide detector is a reliable method of early detection of carbon monoxide gas in the home,” the Coroners Service said.

“This does not replace the need for regular, qualified servicing of all gas appliances and wood-burning stoves. If you suspect you have been exposed to carbon monoxide gas, leave the residence immediately and seek urgent medical assistance.”

About Mel Rothenburger (9367 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

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