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Woman on Oxygen Dies after Power Cut to NH Home

SALEM, N.H. -- A New Hampshire woman who used oxygen therapy at her Salem home died three days after National Grid shut off the electricity, and authorities are investigating whether any laws were broken.

Kay Phaneuf, 53, died Thursday at Holy Family Hospital in Methuen, Mass., Salem Fire Marshal Jeff Emanuelson said. She had been in critical condition since her husband found her unconscious Monday about an hour after power was cut to their home.

The electricity might have been needed for her oxygen tanks to function, authorities said. There's no word on why the power was shut off, and the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission is investigating.

National Grid believes proper procedures were followed, a spokesman said.

Calls to the Utilities Commission, National Grid and Phaneuf's home were not immediately returned Friday morning.

The Fire Department received a 911 call at 9:57 a.m. Monday about a woman in possible cardiac arrest, Emanuelson said. Paramedics arrived several minutes later, resuscitated Phaneuf and took her to the hospital.

The department's computer dispatch system can put warnings or caution notes on addresses, such as for someone with "a significant medical issue," Emanuelson said. Phaneuf's address carried no such information, he said.


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