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Malfunctioning Gas Lamp Blamed for Deaths of 2 Men

Two men were found dead in their home Saturday, apparently victims of carbon monoxide poisoning linked to an improperly operating gas lamp, police said.

There is no connection between the two dead and the 12 who perished this week--apparently of the same cause--during a religious ceremony at a makeshift chapel inside another city home, said Jaime Sam Fierro, commander for the Baja California State Judicial Police in Tijuana.

Many residents of poor Tijuana neighborhoods where electricity is scarce fashion lamps and heaters from commercial gas tanks, particularly during the winter months. But the crude appliances may emit deadly carbon monoxide as a byproduct, leaving victims in a stupor and eventually asphyxiating them.

That is what authorities say led to the deaths earlier this week of a dozen worshipers who had gathered Wednesday evening at the home of a charismatic resident who hosted ceremonial rites.

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The two men whose bodies were discovered Saturday were identified as Jesus Martinez Gomez, 72, and his nephew, Luis Adolfo Serrano Martinez, 24. The two lived together in an outlying neighborhood known as Rancho Laredo, east of downtown near the road to Tecate. The pair may have been dead since Wednesday, the police chief said. A neighbor who knocked on their door found the bodies about 12 p.m. Saturday, police said.

Authorities found that a home-rigged lamp hooked to a gas tank was still lit, the police chief said.


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