Hurricane Sandy is continuing to kill people on the East Coast.

No, I’m not talking about people hit by falling trees, or any one else drowning. I’m referring to carbon monoxide poisoning deaths. So far in New Jersey alone, at least five people have died by being poisoned by the lethal gas, which came from gas- or diesel-fueled generators, according to The Star-Ledger of Newark.

Unfortunately, such tragedies often happen when people turn to generators in emergency situations, when they lose power and want to keep warm. With statewide power outages in New Jersey, and cold weather, residents and businesses have fired up generators while unaware of, or ignoring, the warnings about operating such devices.

Here’s the takeaway: Generators need to be operated outside, as far away from a residence, or any nearby residence, as possible. Officials in New Jersey are also warning residents not to use gas ovens, stoves or grills to heat their homes, according to The Ledger. They also pose a threat of causing carbon monoxide poisoning.

The carbon monoxide death count includes Rafael Reyes, a 55-year-old New Brunswick man, who The Ledger reported was found dead in his kitchen Thursday. A generator was on in his basement.

Gracie Dunston, a 59-year-old Trenton woman, was killed and seven members of her family fell ill from carbon monoxide poisoning, according to The Ledger. They had a generator and a propane heater on their first floor.

A man in Edison who had a generator on in his garage died this week. And finally, two 19-year-old Newark women, Mudiwa Benson and Kenya Barber, were killed Thursday by carbon monoxide from a generator that was operating close to their apartment window, The Ledger reported.

Steven Marcus, the director of New Jersey’s poison control center, told The Ledger that his office has been deluged with calls regarding carbon monoxide poisoning.

And there will likely be more deaths due to the treacherous gas, because many residents in the Tri-State area are still without power.


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