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Texas family killed by carbon monoxide

By Scott Goldstein
The Dallas Morning News

PLEASANT GROVE, Texas — A family of three was found dead of apparent accidental carbon monoxide poisoning in its Pleasant Grove home Monday night, Dallas fire officials said.

A concerned relative called police to the house at the corner of Eldon and Delmonte drives. Firefighters found a woman and teenage girl dead in a hallway and a man dead in a back bedroom.

The carbon monoxide reading was extremely high, and a 20-gallon propane tank that was apparently being used to heat the home was found inside, said Dallas Fire-Rescue spokesman Jason Evans.

“There’s no telling how long that propane tank could have been going,” Evans said. “It’s being investigated as purely an accident.”

Authorities had not released the names of the deceased late Monday.

A relative identified them as Jose Vega; his wife, Beatris Picaso; and their daughter Diana Vega.

It was unclear how long the family had been dead. Diana was seen playing outside early Sunday afternoon, Evans said.

Luis Perea, the couple’s nephew, was one of numerous relatives who watched from across the street as police and a Dallas medical examiner worked inside the home.

He said that the family had left Mexico more than a decade ago and that Jose Vega worked cutting and crafting marble for countertops.

“My uncle was pretty active,” Perea said. “He had a positive attitude.”

Many of the extended family live in Dallas and they get together often, he said.

It was unusual that no one had heard from the family in some time, so a relative went to the house to check on them. She called police after no one answered the door.

For the grieving relatives and friends gathered near the white, single-story home, it was the second tragedy there in recent months. In September, the couple’s teenage son, Jose Vega, was found dead inside the house of an apparent drug overdose, family and neighbors said.

Monday’s deaths tragically highlighted a public safety message fire officials nationwide deliver every winter.

More than 400 Americans a year die from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 20,000 make emergency room visits, and more than 4,000 are hospitalized because of carbon monoxide.

“We encourage you not to use propane tanks to heat your home,” Evans said.