Township mayor’s wife saves a life

West Amwell’s Susan Molnar saved an elderly man from carbon monoxide poisoning when he didn’t report as usual to the Washington Township Senior Center.

By: Lauren Urgoon
   WASHINGTON — Susan Molnar wears many hats in Washington — community services director, senior center administrator and affordable housing coordinator.
   Now she can add lifesaver to the list.
   Ms. Molnar, the wife of West Amwell Township Mayor Thomas Molnar, won’t hear of such a title.
   "I’m not a hero. I don’t look at myself that way," she insisted.
   But the very lucky recipient of her intuition begs to differ. Charlie Tindall, 89, has Ms. Molnar to thank for his life.
   "They have a new name for me around here," Mr. Tindall said. "The Miracle Man."
   And for good reason. Mr. Tindall was on the receiving end of Ms. Molnar’s common sense Jan. 27 when her actions saved him from certain carbon monoxide poisoning.
   It started earlier in January when Mr. Tindall complained of inexplicable aches and a rundown feeling. Doctors could find nothing wrong with the longtime Washington resident, and Mr. Tindall still managed to get to the senior center each day for lunch.
   His daily schedule never faltered until Jan. 27 when Mr. Tindall’s sister, Pearl Busch, noticed her brother’s absence at the senior center. Ms. Busch and Ms. Molnar both remembered the strange symptoms Mr. Tindall had exhibited lately.
   "Everyone always says I’m so punctual," Mr. Tindall said. "I do get here on time so when I didn’t show up one morning, they came looking for the old man."
   Ms. Molnar played it cautious at first. She called Mr. Tindall several times. Getting no answer, she drove to his Ivanhoe Drive home to see if his car was in the driveway. It was, and her worry grew.
   "I banged on doors, tried windows and looked all around," she said. "It was locked up tight."
   She enlisted the help of police Chief Martin Masseroni and several officers. They broke a window lock and entered the home. The group found Mr. Tindall upstairs in his bedroom.
   "He wasn’t in good shape at all. He was conscious, but not coherent," Ms. Molnar remembered. "He couldn’t walk or talk and was mumbling."
   Paramedics rushed Mr. Tindall to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. After a battery of tests failed to uncover another cause such as stroke, Mr. Tindall was diagnosed with carbon monoxide poisoning.
   Officials suspect Mr. Tindall’s 60-year-old heater is to blame by letting out a slow leak of the deadly gas. Carbon monoxide poisoning can present itself as symptoms similar to the flu or food poisoning, which probably stumped Mr. Tindall’s doctors.
   "Honestly, I didn’t think we’d find him alive. I’m very, very grateful we did," Ms. Molnar said. "He’s back to normal now, and we’re so grateful for that, too."
   Mr. Tindall is back home after a week recovering in the hospital. Meanwhile, his family had the heater repaired and installed carbon monoxide detectors.
   Saving a life will be one of the last things Ms. Molnar does for Washington’s seniors as she plans to retire at the end of February. And though Mr. Tindall considers Ms. Molnar a hero, she eschews the accolade.
   "I didn’t save any lives. Any one of us would’ve done the same thing," she said. "I’m not a hero."