BOSTON (AP) – Police are investigating the death of a 15-year-old boy with cerebral palsy who died Friday after his ventilator appeared to fail during a power outage.

Police said they were called to the East Boston home of Fernando Vargas shortly after 6 a.m. for a report of a person in cardiac arrest.

Vargas was pronounced dead at 6:25 a.m. Police did not immediately release further details.

The boy’s godmother, Maria Rivera, said the boy’s mother told her that her son died after his ventilator stopped working.

Rivera said the boy’s caretaker woke up and heard an alarm on his ventilator going off, then discovered he was not breathing.

Caroline Allen, a spokeswoman for NStar, said the power was out in Vargas’ neighborhood from about 4:50 a.m. to 6:47 a.m. after a cable failure.

“The city had made us aware of what had happened and we’ll work with them to provide any information they might need,” Allen said. “It’s going to take some time to get a better sense of what happened.”

Rivera said Vargas’ father told her that the ventilator had a backup power supply, but it was not known whether that had malfunctioned.

“It’s breaking my heart,” Rivera said. “He was a wonderful kid, despite his disability. He was happy.”

Rivera said the boy lived with his mother, father, 17-year-old brother, and a caretaker.

AP-ES-07-18-08 1651EDT


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