By Rich Cholodofsky
Published: Friday, June 21, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
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The family of an elderly Monessen woman who died of carbon monoxide poisoning in her apartment earlier this year contends the Westmoreland County Housing Authority provided her with a dangerous home.

In a two-count wrongful death lawsuit filed Thursday, the surviving children of Sandra Troilo, 77, contended the studio apartment their mother rented in Eastgate Manor in Monessen had no ventilation, which led to her death.

“Because of the design of the building, including specifically apartment 207, the decedent’s use of the stove resulted in the rapid and lethal accumulation of carbon monoxide within the apartment with no warning to the decedent,” the lawsuit states.

Troilo died on Feb. 4 from carbon monoxide poisoning, according to the county coroner. She had moved into the apartment building less than two week earlier.

On Thursday, Michael Washowich, housing authority executive director, said Troilo’s apartment has not been occupied since her death.

“That apartment was rented out for 25 years and we had no problems. It’s a tragedy, obviously, and the matter is under investigation. Our hearts go out to the family,” Washowich said.

He declined to comment on the lawsuit.

In the court filing, the Troilo family contends two sealed windows and a tight-fitting door prevented any ventilation of the apartment.

A gas stove in the apartment was used properly but created a situation where Troilo was exposed to the deadly gas, the lawsuit contends.

“There were no carbon monoxide detectors in the building. This problem shouldn’t have existed,” said Troilo family lawyer Alan T. Silko.

In investigating the death, the coroner’s office previously said it appeared Troilo was using the stove to dry clothes when her body was found.

Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293 or