Off-duty Chicago police officer dies, woman critical after carbon monoxide leak in Albany Park home: police

Thursday, June 11, 2020
Chicago police officer Xu Meng found dead, woman critical after Albany Park carbon monoxide leak, police say
A Chicago police officer is dead and a woman is in critical condition after they were both exposed to carbon monoxide Tuesday.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A Chicago police officer is dead and a woman is in critical condition after they were both exposed to carbon monoxide Tuesday at a home on the Northwest Side, police confirmed.

Chicago police and the Cook County medical examiner's office have identified the off-duty officer as 36-year-old Xu Meng.

Meng and a woman, 29, were found unresponsive Tuesday just before 8:00 p.m in an Albany Park home in the 3900-block of West Ainslie Street.

"The police told me he had been two plus hours late to pick up his son up so they did a check. I don't know if he was also gonna be starting his shift cause he's a police officer and so they were worried," neighbor David Graubard said.

Chicago Fire officials said they responded to a carbon monoxide alarm in the same block.

Both victims were taken to Swedish Covenant Hospital. Meng was pronounced dead at the hospital and the woman was in critical condition, police said.

Police have not confirmed the identity of the woman in critical condition and officials have not released any further details about Meng's death.

Neighbors of Meng and the woman, who is fighting for her life, are in disbelief.

Melissa Rios was working from home when she heard noise from a carbon monoxide detector that went off in one of the units of the home.

"I thought to myself, someone must be burning something in the kitchen," Rios said. "But I never thought it was the carbon monoxide."

According to a source, Meng and the woman were located on the third floor in different rooms, both unresponsive.

Neighbors said they were told to open their windows and evacuate.

"It's terrible," Graubard said. "I mean they're super nice people. I just saw them this weekend out, you know out front. The kid is adorable and he was always super friendly."

Meng was a 22-month veteran assigned to the Chicago Police Department's 24th District in Rogers Park. He earned a crime reduction award and an honorable mention during his career with the department.

In a press conference Wednesday morning, Mayor Lori Lightfoot called it a terrible accident.

"We think it was carbon monoxide poisoning, the details are still evolving. This has been a hard week for everyone, the Chicago Police Department especially," Lightfoot said.

An honorary procession was held early Wednesday morning for the officer from Swedish Covenant to the medical examiner's office.

"He's married, he has a three-year-old son. They're very nice couple, he always said hello and the little boy was always playing outside with mom," Rios said.

Chicago fire officials said carbon monoxide levels at the home were recorded at 140 ppm. Officials said they believe the leak may have been accidental.

Area Three detectives are investigating.

The Fraternal Order of Police released a statement Wednesday.

"With great sadness Lodge 7 regrets to announce the death of Officer Xu Meng. Please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers," the police union said. "We are monitoring the circumstances surrounding his death and will respond accordingly if needed."