OTTAWA -- A tragedy at an east end home could have been avoided, say police investigators.

Last Tuesday, a neighbour discovered two seniors in serious distress .  A 75-year-old man died at the home, a 75-year-old woman was taken to hospital in life threatening condition after they were poisoned by carbon monoxide.

On Friday, investigators revealed the couple had removed the batteries from two smoke/carbon monoxide detectors in the house, thinking they were malfunctioning.

It turns out the home’s ventilation system was malfunctioning because of pet hair collecting in the gas boiler, leading to a buildup of deadly carbon monoxide in the home.  

Investigators remind homeowners to clean gas boilers regularly, and to keep fresh batteries in your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors.  It is also recommended homeowners have separate smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

If the alarm sounds, immediately leave the area and seek fresh air.