ROSLYN HEIGHTS, N.Y. - A man who disconnected his household carbon monoxide detector because it kept going off for no apparent reason came home to find six people - including three family members - dead of fumes from the furnace.
Investigators said the air conditioner took in carbon monoxide from the furnace and pumped it through the house while the victims slept.
Dr. Andrei Kranz, 42, told police he had disconnected the detector because he thought it was malfunctioning. He returned home Sunday morning from an overnight hospital shift to find his parents, his 2-year-old daughter, two house guests and a baby sitter dead.
Both the air conditioner and the Long Island home's furnace were left on by mistake after the weather went quickly from cool to hot, police said.
One of the air conditioner's intake vents was closed and another was clogged with leaves, so it could draw air only from the room it shared with the natural-gas furnace, investigators said.
Foul play was ruled out.
Neighbors found Kranz sitting on his lawn crying. He had carried his daughter's body out of the house in an attempt to revive her, police said.
''He was in shock,'' said neighbor Debbi Annunziata. ''He was hysterical.''
Kranz's wife and 17-year-old daughter were visiting relatives in Romania. The visitors and the baby sitter were from Romania.
Kranz, a resident in radiology at Nassau County Medical Center, was hospitalized in stable condition Monday because of exposure to carbon monoxide.
''This could have all been so easily avoided,'' neighbor Donna Bernstein said after learning that the detector had been turned off.
She recalled the death of tennis star Vitas Gerulaitis, killed when his Long Island cottage was filled with carbon monoxide from a swimming pool heater in 1994.