Says propane tank heater caused 'invisible killer,' also killed his four beagles
REDMOND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- A Redmond woman is speaking out after she lost her brother to carbon monoxide poisoning in December, a month before what would have been his 36th birthday.
Ryan Rowe was found dead in the shed of his home in Christmas Valley on Dec. 19 after falling asleep near a propane tank heater without ventilation. His four dogs died as well.
NewsChannel 21 spoke with his sister, Kristi Rowe, in Redmond on Sunday.
“He is no longer with us because he fell victim to this invisible killer,” Rowe said.
Rowe said Ryan and his fiancee had only owned the house for about a year, and that Ryan had been working hard trying to finish renovating it.
Rowe said Ryan had a propane tank heater for his dogs to use to keep warm. He got home late that night and took the propane tank heater to the shed with him and his four beagles.
Rowe said he spent most of his nights sleeping on a recliner in the shed because of a back injury. He knew of the dangers of carbon monoxide, which is why he had a ventilation fan in the shed.
However, that night, he fell asleep before he remembered to turn on the ventilation fan. He and his beagles never woke up.
Since then, Rowe has dedicated her time to learning more about carbon monoxide poisoning and spreading awareness about the dangers it brings.
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas produced by burning gasoline, wood, propane, charcoal or other fuel.
According to the Mayo Clinic, carbon monoxide poisoning occurs when carbon monoxide builds up in your bloodstream, replacing the oxygen in your red blood cells with carbon monoxide.
That can lead to serious tissue damage, or, like in Ryan’s case, even death.
“I know Ryan, and I feel he would be proud of me making sure that I’m trying to raise awareness in hopes that this won’t happen to anyone else,” Rowe said.
Rowe describes Ryan as a hardworking man who loved animals and anything having to do with the outdoors. That’s why after Ryan passed away, she decided to name a star after him, recalling the times she and her brother would stargaze in their backyard as children.
“It’s in the Big Dipper constellation,” she said. “It’s the far top right, bright star.”
January is Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Awareness Month, and also the month Ryan would have turned 36.
He leaves behind a fiancee and 16-year-old daughter, as well as four other dogs.
To learn more about Ryan Rowe and support his family, visit their GoFundMe page. And to learn more about the dangers of carbon monoxide and the alarms available to detect it, visit this Bend Fire & Rescue web page.