Elderly Shokan couple found dead at home in suspected generator accident

Shokan residents James and Eva Stapleford were found dead in their Black Road home on Monday night by a Town of Olive police officer, after their daughter in Pennsylvania called Ulster County police to check on her parents.

According to an announcement made by the Ulster County Sheriff's Office on Tuesday morning, the Staplefords' house was found to be without power, though other houses in the neighborhood had power restored. A portable gasoline-powered generator was running in the basement-level garage, where 75-year-old James Stapleford was found dead. Officials believe James's death may have been the result of carbon monoxide poisoning.

73-year-old Eva Stapleford was found at the bottom of the basement stairs, where she appeared to have fallen in an effort to find her husband.

The Staplefords' deaths are under investigation by the Ulster County Medical Examiner's Office and Ulster County Sheriff's Office.

Central Hudson Gas & Electric also responded to the scene to restore electrical service, and make sure the house was safe.

The Daily Freeman spoke to Central Hudson spokesman John Maserjian about the accident. Maserjian said the power to the Stapleford's home was only out briefly during the storm:

Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp. spokesman John Maserjian the utility’s preliminary findings and records showed power had been restored to the home, along with the rest of the neighborhood, on the afternoon of Oct. 30, the day after the storm hit.

“The main breaker inside the home was apparently turned off by the homeowners in order to use the generator, so that’s why when officials arrived, there was no power at the house,” Maserjian said.