Vermont State Police investigators blamed the deaths of a husband and wife on a problem with their home heating system.
According to autopsy reports, Christine and Tom Dipietro of Jericho, both 59, died from carbon monoxide poisoning Wednesday in their home. Chief Mat Champlin of the Underhill and Jericho Fire Department said the Dipietros' three dogs also died.
State Police detectives found a ventilation tube from the residence's heating unit became detached, meaning the furnace was venting deadly carbon monoxide into the home. The deaths are not considered suspicious, State Police said.
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"You could tell they loved each other very much," Jon St. Amour, a family friend, told necn Wednesday. "They were always together, always smiling, and happy with each other. Life goes by in a blink. You just have to stop, take a breath, and hug your loved ones."
Investigators said the couple did not have CO detectors inside the home, and urged Vermonters to both have carbon monoxide and smoke detectors in all homes, and to ensure the detectors are in proper working order.
Tom Dipietro was a former volunteer firefighter with the Underhill and Jericho Fire Department who left the department in 2013, Chief Champlin told necn. Champlin said Dipietro was dedicated and well-liked, and that his wife, Chris, was a bright spot at department gatherings.
Champlin said responding to the Dipietros' deaths Wednesday was especially difficult for the firefighters who knew them so well.