ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - The Orange County Sheriff's Office has confirmed that three people have died in what is believed to be a case of carbon monoxide poisoning, though the exact cause of death was not immediately known.
Deputies arrived at a home on Eggleston Ave. late Tuesday afternoon, and when they went inside, they said they immediately smelled gasoline fumes.
Orange County Fire Rescue was called to the scene and they discovered two people deceased inside the home. One person who tried to get out, was found deceased on the front lawn. Four others were transported to Florida Hospital South for treatment.
Authorities say a family of three generations lived at home and all were residents. The deaths remain under investigation, but deputies said there was a generator inside the garage, which had been converted as an extension of the home. The generator was powering a refrigerator, a standalone freezer and two fans and deputies believe it was running at some point.
The deceased were identified on Wednesday as 34-year-old Desiree Diaz Molina, her son, Jan Lebron Diaz, age 13, and jher daughter, Kiara Lebron Diaz, age 16.
Earlier in the day, the Titusville Fire Department responded to a family that had symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. Firefighters say that a generator was running for several hours inside the garage, with the door closed.
The Florida Department of Health in Orange County is urging residents to be aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide in the wake of Hurricane Irma.
As many Floridians begin the task of cleaning up, the DOH is advising residents to take the proper precautions when using gas-powered appliances and charcoal or gas grills.
Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless, tasteless gas, and is highly poisonous. Depending on the level of exposure, CO may cause fatigue, weakness, chest pains for those with heart disease, shortness of breath upon exertion, nausea, vomiting, headaches, confusion, lack of coordination, impaired vision, loss of consciousness, and in severe cases, death.
The DOH recommends the following precautions be taken to help prevent carbon monoxide poisoning:
- Do not burn burn charcoal or gas grills inside homes, garages, or other enclosed spaces.
- Do not use generators in enclosed spaces or partially enclosed areas, even with ventilation. Opening doors or windows or using fans will not prevent carbon monoxide build-up.
- When using a generator, place the unit outside on a dry surface away from doors, windows, air conditioning units or ventilation that could allow carbon monoxide to get indoors.
- Install battery-operated carbon monoxide alarms or plug-in alarms with a battery back-up in your home. Make sure to test alarms frequently and replace dead batteries.
If you begin to experience dizziness, or feel sick or weak while using a generator or grill, get to fresh air immediately. If you think you have been poisoned, call the nearest Florida Poison Information Center at 800-222-1222. Call 911 if someone has collapsed or isn't breathing.
For more information, contact your local county health department or visit FloridaHealth.gov or FloridaDisaster.org.