An Orlando family of seven suffered carbon monoxide poisoning on Tuesday, Sept. 12. Three family members died at the scene, while four remain in serious condition in the hospital.
The family was running a generator in the living room with inadequate ventilation. They whole family, grandparents, parents and children, were slowly poisoned by the buildup of the undetectable toxic gas. Carbon monoxide is also known as the “silent killer.”
Orange County Fire Rescue arrived at the house at 5:01 p.m. after receiving a 911 call to find several people suffering symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Orange County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Jeff Williamson told CBS affiliate WKMG that two family members had died inside. While five initially made it out, one more died shortly after.
The deceased have been identified as Desiree Diaz Molina, 34, Kiara Lebron Diaz, 16 and Jan Lebron Diaz, 13.
The four survivors “are really not looking so good right now,” said Williamson. They have since been transported to Florida Hospital South where they have been put on advanced life support.
“When the deputy walked into the house, he was just completely overcome with the smell of gas,” Williamson said, calling the deaths a “very tragic, tragic accident. If the sad meter is 1 to 10, this is an 11.” Carbon monoxide poisoning is completely preventable.
Maria Tuzzeo, a neighbor of the Diaz’s, said the deaths were devastating to her. She often saw the children playing outside.
“You know these people. You know them,” she told WFTV. “They’re from your neighborhood. You know how bad it is. You’re brought up with the kids. They go swimming at the pool. It’s just so sad.”
— Amanda Castro (@AmandaNCastro) September 13, 2017
Several other families in Central Florida also running generators in their houses for power after Hurricane Irma swept through on Sunday have also suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning. Millions remain without electricity.
Since the tragedies, Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs urged residents to follow these guidelines when using generators:
- Generators should only be used in well-ventilated locations OUTSIDE at least 5 feet away from all doors, windows, and vents
- Never use a generator in an attached garage, even with the door open
- Place generators so exhaust fumes can’t enter the home through windows, doors, or other openings; the exhaust must be directed away from the building
- Please use carbon monoxide alarms in your home
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless byproduct of burning fuel including gas, oil, kerosene, cigarettes, wood, and coal.
Poisoning occurs when the gas accumulates and replaces the oxygen in your bloodstream. This can result in permanent brain damage and even death within minutes.
Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headaches, fatigue, dizziness, and nausea. More serious poisoning can cause vomiting, blurred vision, confusion, and loss of consciousness.