Carbon monoxide poisoning suspected in 7-year-old Lakeland girl's death

Sheriff stresses safety in aftermath of Hurricane Irma

By Adrienne Cutway - Web Editor
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LAKELAND, Fla. - A 7-year-old girl who was found dead in her Lakeland home Wednesday morning likely died from carbon monoxide poisoning, according to the Polk County Sheriff's Office.

Shashunda Wilson, 41, called 911 around 11:45 a.m. Wednesday and said that she was dizzy and her 7-year-old daughter Terryn Wilson, who sleeps in the bed with her, appeared to be dead, deputies said.

Polk County Fire Rescue found Shashunda Wilson on the front porch of the home when they arrived. She told them that the generator was running inside the living room of the Dossey Road South duplex and she had been asleep in a bedroom with her daughter, the report said.

Firefighters opened the windows of the home because the carbon monoxide level was so high. Once it was safe, deputies found the girl dead in the bed.

The adjoining residence also had a high level of carbon monoxide. Shashunda Wilson was taken to Lakeland Regional Medical Center for treatment. No other people were affected.

"This is the first death our agency has worked related to Hurricane Irma. It's a tragedy when anyone dies, but when a child dies, it's a horrific tragedy. Please, please follow safety instructions that we have stressed over and over so no other tragedies such as this one occur," Sheriff Grady Judd said.

An autopsy will be conducted to determine Terryn Wilson's cause of death. Her death marks the fourth carbon monoxide-related death in Central Florida since Hurricane Irma hit the area.

A woman was killed and three others were hospitalized for carbon monoxide poisoning in Daytona Beach. In Orange County, two adults and a child died and four others were hospitalized. A generator was found inside the home in both instances.

Generators should only be used outside in well-ventilated areas. Click here to see a list of tips on how to safely use a generator.

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