A couple found dead in their Italian style restaurant in New Taipei City yesterday died of carbon monoxide poisoning due to an improperly turned off stove, according to a preliminary investigation.
An employee of the restaurant who had been resting at home after finishing the lunch shift at around 2:00 pm, returned shortly before 5:00 pm to find the restaurant locked, and the couple not responding to his phone calls. The 22-year-old man, named Shen, eventually called a former employee to ask for advice. On being informed that there was a side door to the restaurant, Shen managed to get inside, and was shocked to find his employers, a 28-year-old man named Zhu, and a 25-year-old woman named You, unconscious on the floor of the dining area.
Paramedics who responded to Shen’s emergency call at 6:20pm found Zhu and You to be without vital signs and the restaurant filled with a strong odor of gas. The couple were rushed to Far Eastern Memorial Hospital, but were both declared dead after 30 minutes of CPR.
According to the fire department, the gas concentration in the restaurant was as high as 2,000 ppm when Zhu and You were found unconscious. According to the results of the preliminary police investigation announced today, the stove top was found to have a burner which was not properly turned off. With a small flame, the gas is suspected to not have been completely combusted, leading to a build up of gas and carbon monoxide.
At around 2:00 pm, the couple took a nap. At around 3:00 pm Zhu attempted to wake up You, but she was unresponsive. Then Zhu slowly fainted and lay on the floor. The restaurant’s popular tabby cat was also found dead in the kitchen.
Apple Daily reported that the couple had met around 10 years ago at university, and opened the restaurant around one year ago. While many other restaurants have gone out of business during the Covid-19 pandemic, La Foresta quickly gained a reputation for quality gourmet food, and was gaining in popularity, and had bright prospects for the future. Zhu and You planned to get married as long as their business survived the pandemic.
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