Carbon monoxide poisoning confirmed in 3 of 5 deaths

The Yukon's chief coroner has confirmed that Valerie Rusk and her two children died in their Porter Creek home in late January of high levels of carbon monoxide.

The Yukon’s chief coroner has confirmed that Valerie Rusk and her two children died in their Porter Creek home in late January of high levels of carbon monoxide.

“Ratios exceeding 40 per cent are considered severe poisoning,” said Sharon Hanley who released their toxicology results on Thursday. “Greater than 60 per cent may lead to death.”

The 37-year-old mother had more than 80 per cent carboxyhemoglobin in her body, said Hanley.

Both 13-year-old Gabriel and 11-year-old Rebekah had more than 90 per cent, she said.

As for father Bradley Rusk, 45, and boarder Donald McNamee, 47, who were also found dead in the home, Hanley said she’s still waiting for their results to come back. Those are expected next week.

“I’ll have to sit down and look at the file once I get everything, and then decide what we’re going to do,” said Hanley, when asked whether an inquest would be held into the deaths.

Inquests are held to try to prevent similar deaths in the future.

The Department of Community Services had not returned a call on the status of the fire marshal’s investigation by press time.

At the time of the tragedy, it had said it would wait for all investigations to be completed before deciding whether to change any regulations regarding carbon monoxide detectors or the oil-burner industry.

Cabinet spokesperson Elaine Schiman said the government wants to look at all the results before doing anything at the political level.

“It’s still too early,” she said on Friday morning. “We’re going to wait until we have the full information. Then it will likely take some time to digest it and examine what we ought to be proceeding with.”

Contact Roxanne Stasyszyn at

roxannes@yukon-news.com

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