Remembering couple who died from carbon monoxide poisoning

Updated: Feb. 25, 2020 at 3:44 PM EST
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STAR LAKE, N.Y. (WWNY) - An autopsy performed Monday confirmed a St. Lawrence County couple died from carbon monoxide poisoning. That’s according to state police.

Friends and family we spoke to say Brian Merkley and Lisa Leroux were generous, kind people and the suddenness of their deaths is overwhelming.

"To go the way they went, with no warning. You know, 'I'll see you tomorrow, Brian.' And then I didn't," said David McCoy, owner of Mountain Gate Plaza Redemption Center.

David McCoy contracted Brian Merkley for construction projects for more than a decade.

A friendship formed from all the time the two spent together.

Merkley and Lisa Leroux were found dead in their Star Lake home on Saturday.

McCoy says there was no end to the pair's generosity.

"Brian especially, and Lisa too, they'd give you the shirt off their back. If anybody was in trouble, no matter what, Brian is the first one there and Lisa trails along behind in her van with their dog," he said.

McCoy says Merkley helped build the Mountain Gate Plaza Redemption Center building on Route 3, which McCoy owns.

And these days are hard.

"Every morning I wake up, there's a hole," said McCoy. "He's been like a son to me and I've been a father figure to him."

According to state police, an autopsy performed Monday confirms Merkley and Leroux died from carbon monoxide poisoning.

The source was a propane heater state police say wasn't designed to heat a home.

Officials from Star Lake Fire Department say there are a few things people can do to be safe when using a heater designed for heating the home.

"Make sure you're following the manufacturer's instructions. Make sure it's well ventilated. Make sure that you do have your smoke detectors, or carbon monoxide detectors. Make sure that they are working," said Ed Drake, SLFD volunteer firefighter.

A GoFundMe page has been set up by the McCoys to cover Merkley and Leroux's final expenses.

It can be found on the GoFundMe website under Brian and Lisa Memorial Fund.

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