ORLANDO, Fla. – An adult and two teenagers died in a "tragic accident" Tuesday after Orange County deputies said a generator was used inside an Orlando home that did not have power after Hurricane Irma.
The Orange County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday identified the victims as Desiree Diaz Molina, 34; Kiara Lebron Diaz, 16; and Jan Lebron Diaz, 13.
Deputies said Molina is the mother of Kiara Lebron Diaz and Jan Lebron Diaz.
Four other victims were taken to a hospital. They were identified as Evette Diaz, 37; Karis Colon-Feliciano, 16; Mirta Feliciano, 51; and Louis Lebron Diaz, 12.
Deputies tell News 6 Louis Leron Diaz is Molina's son and is the person who called 911.
Evette Diaz is related to the other victims and Colon-Feliciano and Feliciano are family friends from Puerto Rico.
"The family was the most wonderful family. I just don't understand," a neighbor who didn't want to be identified said.
Orange County Fire Rescue responded at 5:01 p.m. Tuesday to 5618 Eggleston Ave. Officials found several people suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms. Two people were dead inside the home and a third made it outside, but also died, Orange County Sheriff's Office spokesman Jeff Williamson said.
The other victims were taken to Florida Hospital South for advanced life support. On Wednesday, the sheriff's office told News 6 "all four are expected to survive."
"When the deputy walked into the house, he was just completely overcome with the smell of gas," Williamson said, calling the deaths a "very tragic, tragic accident."
Williamson said three generations of family members were living in the home, from grandparents to grandchildren.
The sheriff's office said the generator was found in the garage which had been converted as an extension of the home. It was powering a refrigerator, a standalone freezer, and two fans.
Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs issued an urgent message for residents without power after the deaths: Generators should only be used outside.
"I can only imagine that for a lot of people, they lost very precious members of their family and it breaks my heart," Jacobs said. "I'll be honest with you, to me it feels like a failure when anything we can do to prevent somebody's loss of life and we haven't done our absolute best to get that message out. It's so unfortunate."
The incident was one of several around Central Florida after Hurricane Irma swept through the state, knocking out power for more than 5 million residents.Two other carbon monoxide poisoning cases were reported in Polk and Brevard counties earlier Tuesday.
Jacobs provided these tips for people using generators:
Generators should only be used in well-ventilated locations OUTSIDE at least 5 feet away from all doors, windows and vents
Never use a generator in an attached garage, even with the door open
Place generators so exhaust fumes can’t enter the home through windows, doors or other openings; the exhaust must be directed away from the building
Please use carbon monoxide alarms in your home