IRMA: 4 deaths in Central Florida linked to carbon monoxide poisoning

By Julie Gargotta, Anthony Leone, Team Coverage
Last Updated: Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 5:42 PM EDT

Following hurricane Irma, it could take weeks to restore power. And now, leaders are pleading with residents to use portable generators safely.

Four people have been killed in unrelated carbon monoxide poisoning from generators being used in homes, officials said.

“If not used properly, they can be extremely dangerous, and even cause death," said Orange County Mayor, Teresa Jacobs, in a press conference Wednesday afternoon.

"This message is urgent. If you’re using a generator and if you have a carbon monoxide detector, use it," she said..

Health experts said that symptoms could be mild, no more than a headache. If you start to feel sick while using a generator, get fresh air immediately.

“Just because you do not smell exhaust fumes does not mean you’re not getting carbon monoxide into your environment," said Dr. George Ralls, Director of Health and Public Safety at Orange County.

Volusia County: 1 dead, 3 injured in carbon monoxide poisoning

A person is dead and three at being treated at a hospital for carbon monoxide poisoning after a generator was used inside a house, according to the Daytona Beach Fire Department.

Officials stated that the incident happened at around 4:45 a.m., Wednesday, 400 South Keech St., Daytona Beach.

A friend of the those living in the home found three adults, two women and a man, unconscious and also discovered a generator inside the house with the door slightly opened.

The friend, who along with the people in the house have not been named, and a Daytona Beach police officer pulled the three from the home. The friend was treated for moderate exposure while the officer was checked for mild exposure of carbon monoxide.

The three, the friend and the police officer were taken to Halifax Medical Center for carbon monoxide poisoning, but one of the women died, police stated.

The name of the person who died has not been identified.

The police issued the following warning about the need to keep generators outside.

"Carbon Monoxide is an odorless, colorless poisonous gas that can cause sudden illness and death if too much is inhaled. Generators need to be kept outside homes and garages and away from open doors and windows, vents, and air intakes," warned the police.


Orange County:  Child, 2 adults die from carbon monoxide poisoning

Emergency responders are asking people to be careful using generators after three people were killed and four others injured from a possible carbon monoxide poisoning on Tuesday.

  • The four others injured were taken to Florida Hospital South
  • Officials warn against using generators indoors

They have been identified as: Jan Lebron Diaz, Kiara Lebron Diaz and Desiree Diaz Molina.

There is still no power on Eggleston Avenue in Orange County, like many throughout the state.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Office said a child called 911 and said people were unconscious in the home on Tuesday.

The first deputy on scene reported a strong smell of gas and later investigators found a portable generator inside.

The three people who died were three generations of the same family.

“It’s something you never expect to see or to witness… we just seen these folks outside a couple of days ago,” said neighbor Jordan Garcia.

“It’s sad," said Roberto Lopez, who lives down the street from the family. “I know you’re desperate, it’s hot, it’s muggy. [Deaths are] preventable, if you take the time.”

Lopez has been running his generator to power everything, from his fridge to AC, using the generator through several hurricanes.

“Same one since 2004, if you take care of it, it’ll take care of you," he said, adding that he takes its maintenance and placement seriously.

“At least 15 feet away from the house, a perfect place would be in the middle of your yard," he said. “The thing is take the time, read the instructions.”

Investigators said four others were taken to Florida Hospital South in varying conditions.

Carbon monoxide: 'The silent killer'

Carbon monoxide is often referred to as the silent killer. Four people in Central Florida have died from carbon monoxide poisoning in unrelated cases. News 13's Ybeth Bruzual sat down with an Orlando firefighter to discuss what needs to be done to prevent more deaths as the area recovers from Hurricane Irma.