Twin sisters who came into this world together allegedly tried to leave it the same way, but when their suicide attempt was thwarted, police charged them with risking the lives of neighbors in the process.
Joanne Gladstone and her sister, Janet McGinnis, both 55, turned on all four gas burners of Gladstone's stove - without the flames - and lay on pillows together on the floor of Gladstone's apartment on Park Avenue near West Chester Pike in Upper Darby on May 24, police said.
The pair left a note on the kitchen table, apologizing for "all the problems we've caused" and asking simply to be cremated, Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood said.
It was a passer-by, not a resident of the three-story apartment complex, who called 9-1-1 and reported an odor of gas emanating from the building, police said.
Fire officials narrowed the source of the leak to Gladstone's apartment, and when firefighters and police opened the unlocked door, they discovered the women, Chitwood said.
"They were awake and apologized to an officer," he said. "One of the women said, 'We're just trying to kill ourselves.' "
Next to the suicide note on the table, police found two prescription bottles for McGinnis, although it wasn't clear what the pills were for, Chitwood said.
At the time of their suicide attempt, there were seven other people in the apartment building, all of whom were endangered by the sisters' actions, police said.
"This is one of those cases that's a sad commentary," Chitwood said. "These people want to take their own lives without regard to the consequences of the rest of the building."
A resident of the building who asked not to be identified said that someone had left a burner on in their apartment by accident just last month and that there was previously a mentally troubled woman in the building who once left her burner on for a week.
In this case, the sisters were taken to a local hospital to be physically evaluated and then to Mercy-Fitzgerald Hospital's for psychological evaluations.
Upon their release late last week, Gladstone and McGinnis, who lives on Revere Road in Drexel Hill, were charged with risking a catastrophe, police said.