Millions of people lost power when Hurricane Irma pounded Florida, leaving residents in the dark, suffering from the heat, and searching for a way to get their power back on their own.
One family in Orlando turned to a generator, which police discovered in a tragic way, according to News 6.
Orange County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Jeff Williamson explained:
“When the deputy walked into the house, he was just completely overcome with the smell of gas.”
A child called 911, leading police to the home that had three generations of family members living inside together. Sadly, three of them were found dead, while four others were taken to Florida Hospital South for advanced life support to save them from what was likely carbon monoxide poisoning.Screenshot/News6
Thirty-four-year-old Desiree Diaz Molina, 16-year-old Kiara Lebron Diaz, and 13-year-old Jan Lebron Diaz lost their lives in what Williamson described as a “very tragic, tragic accident.”
The condition of the hospitalized family members — 37-year-old Evette Diaz, 16-year-old Karis Colon-Feliciano, 51-year-old Mirta Feliciano, and 12-year-old Louis Lebron Diaz — have not been released, but Williamson said they “are really not looking so good right now.”
WFTV reported the deaths broke neighbor Maria Tuzzeo’s heart:
“You know these people. You know them, 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.”
Williamson felt the pain, too, saying, “If the sad meter is 1 to 10, this is an 11.”
There has not been a confirmed cause of death, but Williamson explained signs point to the generator being the cause of the tragedy:
“It’s too early to confirm what happened, but we do believe there was a running generator at some point during the night, or during the day, inside the residence.”
Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs issued an urgent message for residents without power after the deaths, telling her constituents that generators should only be used outside.
Jacobs pleaded with community members without power to follow generator safety tips to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning:
- 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.
As Dearly previously reported, carbon monoxide symptoms to watch out for include a dull headache, weakness, dizziness, nausea or vomiting, shortness of breath, confusion, blurred vision, and loss of consciousness. According to the Mayo Clinic, warning the signs can be subtle.