Deadly Generator Fumes Attack Chicago Again.

Two more near fatalities from deadly generator fumes in Chicago. No, this is not Monday’s story all over again. This is a story that happened on Thursday June 8, 2017. According to the Chicago Sun Times, a man and his teenage son where saved from deadly levels of carbon monoxide in their home in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood because the man had called 911. Fortunately, the onset of the carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms was slow enough that there was time between the warning signs and the 911 response. Often times, individuals will drop where they are because of the deadly levels. See

Last Saturday one was killed and two others poisoned in Chicago’s Morgan Park neighborhood. We blogged about it here:

According to the Sun Times, this was a case where the generator was being operated in the basement because the electricity had been turned off by the power company. We have been advocating hard against the deadly nature of portable electric generators all year, including being asked to testify in front of the U.S. CPSC in March of 2017. A portion of my testimony is here.

According to the CPSC, a near majority of these cases of deadly generator fumes happen in one of two situations: power outages because of storms and people having their power turned off. While their have been no reports as to the reason for last Saturday’s incident in Morgan Park, Thursday’s incident clearly fits into the power turned off category.

Deadly Generator Fumes

According the CPSC, a near majority of deadly generator fumes cases happen because of two causes: storms and having electricity turned off. In Thursday’s Chicago case, the power was turned off.


From the CPSC notice of Proposed Rule, published in 2016, of the 562 fatal incidents of deadly generator fumes causing fatalities between 2004 and 2014: “Twenty-one percent (116 incidents) were associated with the use of generators after a power shutoff by the utility company for nonpayment of a bill, a bill dispute, or other reason.” See page 222: That number is likely understated, however, because 19% of the causes was unknown.

The primary culprit in these cases is the manufacturers of the generators. Those manufacturers have reduced the emissions from their generators like car manufacturers have, nor have the put on automatic shut off mechanisms which would shut down the generator when made indoors. The generator industry has acknowledged the risk of death from this foreseeable misuse throughout the CPSC’s rule making process, but has made no changes. The CPSC started this rule making process in 2002, 15 years ago. 1,000 deaths later, the generator industry just keeps making these generators.

Generators can be made safe. One of the members of the Portable Generators Manufacturers Association, (PGMA) is already making such a generator, Techtronic Industries Power Equipment  of Anderson, S.C. If TTI can make these, so can the balance of the manufacturers of portable electric generators. Instead, they choose to obfuscate, delay and talk about other methods of saving lives. The PGMA position is that a shut down should be put on all generators, yet only TTI is manufacturing a generator that will save lives. If the Federal Government can force a change, then it is time for litigation to play its role in making our world safer. The PGMA members and the retailers who sell and rent these generators must stop ignoring the undeniable facts that people will run portable electric generators inside. While such is a huge mistake, it is a foreseeable misuse that must be engineered to avoid. 

Justice demands these generators be made more safe. Our prayers are with all of these victims of bad products and hope that those in Englewood get the best medical treatment and diagnosis for the damage the carbon monoxide poisoning left behind. We represent dozens of Illinois survivors of carbon monoxide poisoning and the pattern is familiar. Brain damage, mood and behavioral changes as well cognitive challenges await nearly half those who survive. For more on our carbon monoxide cases in Illinois, click here. 

Attorney Gordon Johnson


Post note: Two little girls were poisoned by an electric generator on a houseboat in Georgia either today or yesterday. Of significant note is that manufacturers of marine generators have made their current models much safer, with Kohler generators having reduced CO emissions by 99%, in 2005. We suspect that this Georgia case may involve an older boat or generator than that. We will keep our eye out for more news on this case.







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  1. […] Illinois, just days after the previous Chicago fatality, two in a nearby neighborhood, are rushed to the hospital. June 8, […]

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