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Report: Outside generators to blame for Volusia carbon-monoxide poisoning during hurricane

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Backup Power Generator -- The average cost is $14,718 with an average resale value of $7,136. The cost recouped is 49%.

Thirteen people in Volusia county showed signs of carbon-monoxide poisoning during Hurricane Matthew related to incorrect use of generators, the Florida Department of Heath said Monday.

In most of the cases the generators were outside the house, but still too close, allowing toxic gases to seep into the home.

"Generators should never be used inside an enclosed space,” said Dr. Paul Rehme, Florida Department of Health Volusia disease control director. “However using a generator outside can be just as dangerous."

Rehem said even if a generator is outside, it can be too close to an AC unit, venting into the home or doors and windows.

Generators located outdoors should be placed away from doors, windows, vents and any air conditioning equipment, said the department of health in a news release.

From Oct. 7 to Oct. 10, nine carbon-monoxide cases were confirmed by the Florida Department of Health and another four were suspected.

In all of the cases, the carbon-monoxide poisoning was unintentional due to incorrect use of a generator during the power outage caused by Hurricane Matthew.

A 9-year-old Daytona Beach boy was the only fatal case or carbon monoxide poisoning. Jose Barrios died after a generator was placed inside the home. His parents and brother were also treated for poisoning.

The youngest person who showed symptoms of poisoning was 1-year-old, the oldest a 77-year-old old, according to the department.

The health department recommends installing a carbon-monoxide detector. One family was alerted during the night and it may have saved their lives, according to the health department.


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