Jan 30, 2017 | By Tess

A couple living in Berkeley, California were tragically found dead in their home last Monday, possibly due to carbon monoxide poisoning. Sources are speculating that the poison may have been caused by the couple’s 3D printer, though others have denied this. An investigation into the cause of death is still underway.

The couple, Valerie (32) and Roger Morash (35), who had met while studying at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, were found dead in their Berkeley, CA home last week. The couple’s pets, two cats, were also found. Valerie was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute and Roger was a video game developer.

Though the definitive cause of death has not been released, many sources are speculating that they died from carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a toxic odorless, colorless, and tasteless gas that is produced by fuel-burning machines, such as cars, stoves, furnaces, etc.

Strangely, though no autopsy has been released, sources such as The Daily Mail have suggested that a 3D printer or laser cutting machine was responsible for the carbon monoxide emissions. The machine was reported as being a “laser 3D printer,” though a friend of the couple said they owned a small commercial laser cutter and a small desktop 3D printer, neither of which were likely in use at the time of the couple's death.

Roger (35) and Valerie (32) Morash

Allen Rabinovich, a friend of the couple, stated: “This is all pure speculation. The device named in the KPIX CBS article (‘laser 3D printer’) doesn’t even exist, and we are in contact with the police, who are still working on official investigation results. We’d like to ask the press to refrain from speculating until official results come out. Whether we know tonight or a week from now won’t change the fact that two amazing human beings have passed far too soon. Our focus right now is on preserving and magnifying their legacy.”

The results of the autopsies, which were completed on Wednesday, have yet to be made public. Because of this, it is best to ignore both the conclusions of The Daily Mail (implicating the 3D printer) and the conclusions of other 3D printing media outlets (ruling out involvement of the 3D printer based on no concrete evidence).

A private memorial service for the couple, who were avid 3D printing enthusiasts, was held on Friday in Berkeley, CA. Friends and family of Val and Roger Morash also set up a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for family travel and funeral costs. So far, they’ve raised over $15K, some of which will be donated to a cause “of the family’s choosing.”

Of course, it can be easy to jump to conclusions after tragic events, but until conclusive evidence is given by authorities, it cannot be assumed that a 3D printer or laser cutter was the cause of the couple’s death. Likewise, we cannot, at this point, strictly rule it out.

Photos from Facebook



Posted in 3D Printer



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Jay wrote at 3/23/2017 11:21:01 PM:

You have the same problems when you burn scented candles or insense or when you burn toast or overheat your old non-stick pans or burn the bacon. Not to mention nail polish remover and many cleaning products.

Tech community wrote at 2/4/2017 3:41:52 PM:

There is a big community of laser cutters and 3D printer users which are waiting for conclusion related to their machines and materials. Easily thousands of people who don't want to be next. We are waiting for answer what's happens or at last to exclude any reasons.

Eric Spidell wrote at 1/31/2017 6:48:01 AM:

Why would anyone even begin to think that a 3D printer which uses relatively low heat (Not LASERS) could emit CO? And a Carbon Dioxide laser (CO2) would also not be the suspect as the 2 gasses are VERY different. So much fail going on here. Here is an idea... CHECK THE HOME HEATER!!! THE MAIN CAUSE OF CARBON MONOXIDE(CO) DEATHS IN THE USA!!!. What a total stretch to try to put 3D printers in a bad light. Seems like Australia and their "police" with pictures of toy guns hit California. So much bad publicity going around needs to be hit hard with common sense.

SpyerSecol wrote at 1/30/2017 10:23:40 PM:

CO2 or carbonDIoxide and CO or carbonMONoxide are 2 very different chemicals. One is poisonousin small quantities, the other takes LARGE amounts of gas to kill.

Robin Leech wrote at 1/30/2017 7:41:39 PM:

I would speculate that they made their own laser sintering 3D printer or something and used a home-made CO2 laser and had a canister of C02 that leaked. Carbon monoxide detectors in my opinion are maybe more important than smoke detectors, especially if you live in a small house. You're more likely to smell smoke and get out or deal with a fire than you are to notice an odorless gas.

Chuck wrote at 1/30/2017 6:29:09 PM:

Thanks, I was waiting for 3ders to comment. I was wondering about this event and this confirms my suspicions that the "jury is out" on what actually happened.

MarcC wrote at 1/30/2017 2:56:54 PM:

Absolutely Tragic ALL makers out there when you heat materials to melt or burn them in addition to an obvious unpleasant smell and the risk of fire there is a greatly increased and very real fatal risk from the emitted fumes particularly from some materials but all of them if preformed in confined or poorly ventilated spaces. https://www.directplastics.co.uk/whats-in-those-fumes.html

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