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Father arrives home to find family unconscious from carbon monoxide poisoning

Published: Jul. 28, 2021 at 8:18 AM CDT|Updated: Jul. 28, 2021 at 5:15 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The Baton Rouge home where five people were treated for carbon monoxide poisoning had no electricity and the family was using a generator for power.

That generator, without proper ventilation, is believed to be the cause of the carbon monoxide poisoning, firefighters said.

The victims include a 10, 12, and 15-year-old as well as two adults. All five were in critical condition when transported from their home on Avenue D, off Scenic Highway Wednesday morning.

The father of those children Eric Williams walked into the home Wednesday morning and found one of the victims passed out in a front room of the house. He said he called firefighters after finding his children also unconscious.

“I went to work this morning, I was still kind of dizzy so I came back home,” Williams said. “I knocked at the door, usually my kids will be up. None of them were moving at all. Kept hollering and none of them got up. My wife, she had foam coming from her mouth and my son. I tried to move them, they were like dead weight. I couldn’t move them.”

Williams said the generator was the family’s only source of power. They moved in just two days ago and the power has not been connected yet.

“It had rained the day before so I had put it in the house,” Williams said. “I was going to put it outside, it was too late then.”

Baton Rouge Fire warns against using a generator inside as it could have deadly consequences.

“Carbon monoxide can build up inside the home,” said Justin Hill, a public information officer for BRFD. “You can’t see it, hear it, or taste it and you don’t know it’s present. It like to bond with your blood a lot more readily so in that environment you’ll become sleepy, disoriented, ill, and the next thing you know you have a medical emergency.”

BRFD recommends only operating a generator outside, at least 10 feet away from your house, ensuring no exhaust is coming inside.

It is a lesson Williams said he learned the hard way. Fortunately, he found his family before it was too late.

“I’m lucky I’m still here and my family,” Williams said.

Williams wife and kids are still hospitalized. He said they are being transferred to New Orleans Thursday for further treatment, though all are now awake and talking.

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