2 carbon monoxide deaths in Michigan - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

2 carbon monoxide deaths in Michigan

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(12/25/13) - There have been two carbon monoxide deaths here in Michigan since the power outage began.

A 58-year-old man died Tuesday morning in Clinton County's Eagle Township. That's about 10 miles west of Lansing. His generator was inside an attached garage instead of being outside.

An elderly Grand Blanc Township man died under the same circumstances, according to police.

The 84-year-old man had a running generator inside his garage near Fenton and Hill Roads. Police are not releasing his name yet.

His wife found him, unresponsive, around 11 p.m. Tuesday. She was taken to the hospital to be checked out, but should be OK.

"The symptoms associated with carbon monoxide poisoning can be very vague," said Hurley Medical Center Emergency Room doctor, Dr. Jim Weber. "They can start as nausea, vomiting, headache, fatigue, weakness and progressively can lead to confusion and in severe exposures, can lead to seizures, coma, death, and unconsciousness."

Weber said, since Sunday, Hurley has seen an increase in suspected and true exposure cases.

Mild cases can be treated with oxygen breathing treatments, but people with severe problems must be sent to a hospital equipped with a hyperbaric chamber. 

Weber said someone, just Thursday morning, with very high carbon monoxide levels, had to be shipped out for treatment.

"You can't taste it, you can't smell it and obviously you won't know you're breathing it," said Grand Blanc Township Fire Chief Jim Harmes.

Harmes said generators must be kept outside your home. 

"Desperate means doesn't mean desperate ends," he said. "You really need to think these things through carefully."

Harmes suggests keeping a generator 10-15 feet away from your home and again, outside. 

"The exhaust needs to be pointed away from the house.  If the wind is blowing toward your home, we would even suggest you slide it to the side so the window will blow it past the garage," Harmes said. "Make sure the thing is tuned up and running properly."

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