A Texas woman and child died of carbon monoxide poisoning after running a car in the garage in an attempt to keep warm during record-low temperatures.
The tragedy also sent an adult male and a young boy to the hospital — which made them two additional more than the original 300 cases of carbon monoxide poisoning reported in Harris County in the last few days, the Houston Chronicle reported.
Officers with the Houston Police Department and members of the Houston Fire Department were dispatched to 8300 La Roche for a welfare check, and upon arrival found the four people “affected by carbon monoxide poisoning,” the police department said in a statement via Twitter.
The woman and female child, who was just 8 years old, were pronounced dead, while the boy, who is reportedly 7 years old, and an adult male were transported to the hospital, according to police.
“Initial indications are that [a] car was running in the attached garage to create heat as the power is out,” the statement said. “Cars, grills and generators should not be used in or near a building.”
The woman was speaking with a relative on the phone when she began to feel disoriented and passed out in the running car. The relative then reportedly called the police — who discovered the woman dead in the car and the girl dead in the condo.
“This is so heartbreaking,” Chief of Police Art Acevedo said in a statement. “Please bundle up and be aware of the extreme danger carbon monoxide poses for us. Praying for this family.”
The tragedy happened just after six people also in Houston, Texas, were transported to the hospital after using a charcoal grill to heat their apartment for close to four hours.
The victims included four children aged 5-10 years old.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that’s found in fumes produced any time fuel is burned in cars, engines, stoves, lanterns, grills, fireplaces, gas ranges or furnaces.
It is known to cause sudden illness and death, and while the symptoms are often described as “flu-like,” CO poisoning can kill people in their sleep before they begin exhibiting symptoms.
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.
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