Southold police came to the rescue of a 78-year-old man who had passed out and was being poisoned by carbon monoxide while working aboard his boat Saturday afternoon in Cutchogue.
The man, Ernest Schneider of Cutchogue and Palm City, Fla., was in his backyard about 3:30 p.m. when his wife began calling for him — but he didn’t respond, police said.
Fearing he had suffered a heart attack, the woman immediately called 911.
Southold police officers Ryan Springer, Brian McNamara, William Brewer and Sgt. Scott Latham responded to the scene at 8095 Alvah’s Lane.
Mr. Schneider’s son, who lives next door, was also at the house when police arrived and helped them to reach his dad, who was unconscious on the boat.
“The boat was completely wrapped in shrink wrap and engine exhaust was blowing from the boat upon arrival,” read a police press release. “Recognizing it was a carbon monoxide poisoning, the officers began rescue breathing for Schneider while the shrink wrap was cut away from the boat to provide fresh air.”
Mr. Schneider — formerly the owner of Schneider’s Greenhouses to the immediate south of his property — began breathing on his own after several minutes of being administered a rescue breathing device on the boat’s deck. He was then take from the boat and treated at the scene by Cutchogue firefighters, who transported him to Peconic Bay Medical Center for treatment.
“He’s doing pretty good actually,” his son, Ernest Schneider Jr., said from the hospital Saturday evening. “He’s quite alert. He’s got a sense of a humor about it. They still have him on oxygen. He’s very thankful. I think he realizes how close things were.”
He said his father had crawled into the large cabin cruiser — which, although shrink wrapped, is accessible through a zipper door — to see if the boat would start.
One motor started, but the other hadn’t and he was trying to find out why.
“When he got up there, I guess the concentrations of fumes got to him,” Ernest Schneider Jr. said.
“He didn’t want to take the shrink wrap off until he knew the motors were running and he was confident he’d be able to put it in the water,” he added. “Otherwise all the birds get in there and start making nests and what-not.”
He said the family was thankful for the quick work of the police officers, who finally resuscitated his dad on board the boat.
“They were fantastic, as always,” he said. “I can’t say enough about the police force and the Cutchogue volunteer fire department.”