Saturday, December 16, 2017
Tampa Bay Weather

Autopsy confirms Lakeland girl sleeping near generator died of carbon monoxide poisoning

The autopsy results of a 7-year-old Lakeland girl who died while a generator was running in her living room confirms that she died of carbon monoxide intoxication, the Polk County Sheriff's Office said.

Officials have ruled Terryn Wilson's death accidental. Her mother, Shashunda Wilson, remains at a hospital in Miami where she is being treated for carbon monoxide poisoning. She is in critical, but stable, condition, the Sheriff's Office said.

Wilson told deputies she got a generator after losing power during Hurricane Irma.

"This was the first time she had used one," the Sheriff's Office said in a release. "She was not aware that it could not be in the home."

On Wednesday morning, Wilson called 911 and told a dispatcher she woke up dizzy inside her home, 5124 Dossey Road South in Lakeland. She said her daughter was sleeping next to her and appeared to be dead.

IRMA SAFETY TIPS: Take precautions to reduce fire risk once power is restored

Gas-powered generators give off carbon monoxide, a deadly gas that is colorless and odorless, so there's no warning that someone is being poisoned. Operating a generator inside a home is akin to leaving the car running inside a enclosed garage.

Remember these tips for safely operating generators:

• Never use a generator in an enclosed area, whether it's a garage, a tent or even under a porch.

• It should always be operated outside, at least 20 feet or more from wherever people will be residing. The exhaust should also be pointed away for people.

• If possible, keep carbon monoxide detectors on hand to monitor for dangerous levels of the gas.

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