When America is reminded of the deaths which happened as a result of Hurricane Irma, we are drawn to thoughts of drownings, houses falling in and crushing victims, and even dehydration or infection from foul water. Unfortunately, the New York Post reminds us that the storm itself, while lending to three people perishing, did not cause it.
When the hurricane blew in and left homes in Florida without any power, those blessed enough to have a generator were able to live in a bit more comfort than others. However, this comfort is what killed three of those using it. They “died of carbon monoxide poisoning from a generator running inside their” house and neighbors are heartbroken.
Four other members of the family are in the hospital in serious condition, as well.
With no power, “word of mouth” was all that spread the word of what led to the triple deaths. “My cable is out, so I sent my brother a text and he told me what happened,” said neighbor Steve Whipple to the Orlando Sentinal.
Those that perished were well liked by those who lived near them. “I drive by them and wave at them all the time,” Whipple added.
The treasurer of the neighborhood board, Maria Tuzzeo last saw the family as “they cooked on the street.” She said, “It’s such a shame. To see this, especially when children are involved … It’s a preventable thing.”
Most likely, the family either did not know of the generators risk or they assumed themselves to be ventilated enough while it was in use.
A family of five is said to have lived in the dwelling and three of those there were under the age of 18.
“They used our park. The kids were out there all the time,” laments Tuzzeo.
The family is known to have been fond of birthday parties and barbecues, according to neighbor Hank Huynh. He even said that live Spanish music was common at the joyous home.
“They moved in just a couple of years ago — they’re good people,” he said.
It is being reported that “dozens” of other similar “poisonings” from generators have been reported all over the area. Others are now again being strongly urged to remember the risks of generator use.
“All across the state, this power is going to be a big deal,” warns Titusville Fire Department Battalion Chief Greg Sutton. “This is something that’s going to be going on for a long time.”
Hopefully, everyone lucky enough to have an external source of backup power will be very careful in how they use it.