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April 7, 2005

Deaf Douglaston couple die from vehicle exhaust

From: Flushing Times Ledger - Flushing,NY,USA - Apr 7, 2005

By Sophia Chang

A couple who were both severely hearing-impaired and may not have heard warnings from a carbon monoxide detector mounted in their residence were found dead in their Douglaston townhouse last week due to carbon monoxide poisoning from a car left running in their attached garage, officials said.

Anita Mazin, a 49-year-old Queens Village native, and her husband Blair Mazin, 50, from Manhattan, were discovered by her brother Donald Gottfried around 7 p.m. on March 30 at the Oak Park complex at 242-22 Oak Park Dr., police said.

The Mazins' 1997 Infiniti sedan was found parked in the attached garage with the keys in the 'on' position in the ignition and the gas tank empty, according to police.

The city's medical examiner has ruled the deaths as accidental, and police said it was unlikely that the Mazins had committed suicide.

Police noted that the day before the Mazins were discovered the Fire Department investigated a neighbor's carbon monoxide detector after it went off, but were unable to pinpoint the source. It was likely the neighbor's detector was set off by the Mazins' car fumes, authorities said.

Management for the apartment complex declined to comment.

A funeral for the couple was held Friday at Sinai Chapel in Fresh Meadows, and they were buried in New Jersey.

Friends and family said the vivacious Mazins, who spent most of their 25-year marriage in Merrick, L.I. before moving to Douglaston a couple years ago, were both active in organizations for the hearing-impaired and were a perfect match for each other.

"They were extremely well-matched as a couple," said Peter Sandler, Anita Mazin's brother-in-law. "They could almost complete each other's sentences. The communication between them was excellent."

Anita Mazin was a teacher and ran a day camp for the city's Parks Department in Kissena Park, and her husband was an accountant, Sandler said.

The two met while volunteering at the League for the Hard of Hearing and were active in a number of other hearing-impaired organizations.

In particular, Blair Mazin had been president of the South Nassau chapter of the Self Help for Hard of Hearing People Inc. for a couple years, and members called his energy and vision "irreplaceable."

"Right now we're in shock," said Bernie Dubs, the chapter's vice president. "We do not have the proper leadership now."

Anita Mazin had been born with hearing problems and Blair Mazin had been diagnosed with the impairment at a very young age, Sandler said.

Anita Mazin wore hearing aids in both ears, and Blair Mazin had two cochlear implants. Without the devices, they were both nearly deaf, Sandler said, which may be why they were not alerted to the deadly odorless carbon monoxide levels by the detector.

"Maybe because they were both hearing impaired they didn't realize it," Sandler said. "They might not have heard the detector." He said the Mazins had a smoke detector equipped with flashing lights but did not know if the carbon monoxide detector had lights.

Reach reporter Sophia Chang by e-mail at, or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.

©Times Ledger 2005