Schenectady County

Elderly Rotterdam couple saved by fall

An elderly Rotterdam couple — married for nearly three quarters of a century — were out of the hospi

An elderly Rotterdam couple — married for nearly three quarters of a century — were out of the hospital Thursday, only hours after a potentially deadly carbon monoxide incident in their home.

Stella and Frank Wtodarczak, both in their late 90s, were taken to Albany Medical Center for treatment of carbon monoxide poisoning. Frank had inadvertently left his car running in their garage Wednesday night, son Donald Wtodarczak said.

Stella Wtodarczak was overcome. When Frank couldn’t get her up, he called his son for help.

Donald Wtodarczak said that his mother’s fall was a blessing.

“It was just good that my mom had fallen in the house and he couldn’t pick her up,” Donald said. “I don’t think he realized what was going on.

“I hate to see somebody fall, but it was a blessing,” he said.

When Donald arrived at the Melrose Street home, he smelled the exhaust immediately and called paramedics just before 10 p.m.

Rotterdam police, along with EMS personnel, responded to the house. Carbon monoxide meters indicated that there was a very high level of the deadly gas inside the home, police said.

The couple was taken to Albany Medical Center, one by ambulance, the other by Med Flight.

Family members spent the night with the couple at the hospital. They both were released by 6 a.m. after their conditions had returned to normal.

Frank Wtodarczak is a retired Army Depot worker, and Stella is retired from General Electric. They were married on April 22, 1934, at St. Adalbert’s Church in Schenectady, according to the 2004 announcement of their 70th wedding anniversary. Their 74th is coming this year.

The couple had three children, eight grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren, at the time of the announcement.

“They’re just down-to-earth people who worked hard their whole lives, and they’re enjoying their golden years,” Donald said. “But age is catching up to them.”

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