Generator Carbon Monoxide Events Keep Happening

The list of generator carbon monoxide events keeps getting longer. When we started keeping track of these events on June 5, 2017, there were four incidents in the previous five weeks. Since then the list of generator carbon monoxide events now has 9 entries. That means five more generator carbon monoxide events in 15 days.

The latest involved the death of a 3-year old boy in San Antonio, Texas where the small structure he was living in with his family was overtaken by fumes from a generator that was outside the structure. Each one of these stories is sad, but this one rings a particularly note. Not only that it is a 3-year old victim, but that this family was obviously living in such poverty that normal electrical service was not an option for them. In fact, inability to get utility service is one of the leading causes of generator carbon monoxide events.

Generator carbon monoxide events

Inability to get electricity from a utility company is a major part of the problem leading to generator carbon monoxide events. In San Antonio, Texas poisoning, the makeshift home the victims were living in was without other power.

The epidemiology of generator carbon monoxide events is about one a week with the worst time being in the winter. But the second worst time is storm season and that is what we are in the middle of. Often before I am done writing about one of these tragedies, another shows up in the news.

Listing of Generator Carbon Monoxide Events

Here is our updated list of these events over the

I know I have missed one or two. They have been happening so fast this month that I am having a hard time keeping them straight. Some are so closed together I don’t get the chance to blog about them separately. There was a followup TV story to the Olathe, Kansas poisoning on todays news wire. It may be that the generator was run in the garage although yesterdays picture appeared to show differently. But the important takeaway from that followup was two things:

  • First, the reporter wanted to end the story on the upbeat note that say “they’re all feeling much better.” The story ends with the statement that the “family is fortunate to be alive and well.” We know, however, that just surviving doesn’t mean that all will be well. The kind of carbon monoxide poisoning involved in a generator carbon monoxide event is sudden and serious. Just surviving doesn’t mean that everyone will be well. There is a 40% chance of permanent brain damage in this case and a 24% chance of permanent heart damage.
  • Second, the reporter strikes the tone of everyone needs to learn about the dangers of running generators indoors. Yet, the reporter ends his story with referencing the dangers of carbon dioxide poisoning. Is there a better illustration as to how common the lack of knowledge is about carbon monoxide poisoning?

Attorney Gordon Johnson


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Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] For our treatment of carbon monoxide poisoning from portable electric generators, click here. […]

  2. […] I haven’t blogged about power outages and carbon monoxide poisoning in too long. It is winter here. The perceived risks comes from malfunctioning furnaces, not power outages and carbon monoxide. But I live in Wisconsin and Chicago. We get typical winter blizzards, not Atlantic Storms. I know that Atlantic storms mean carbon monoxide poisoning. Every time there is a major hurricane, there is a spike in the number of electric generator related carbon monoxide poisonings. People operate portable generators either inside their house or garage, or too close to their house and garage. For a list we made last spring on these events, click here. […]

  3. […] For our earlier blogs: […]

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