2 people suffer carbon monoxide poisoning from generator

MECHANICSVILLE, VA (WWBT) - A wake-up call to anyone using a generator to keep the power running in their home. A Hanover couple was hospitalized after fumes from their generator made them sick.

This couple thought they were playing it safe with the generator set up outside their home. The problem is, the exhaust was spewing into their crawlspace, letting carbon monoxide seep into their home.

Theresa Burton's neighbors are recovering from carbon monoxide poisoning after setting up their generator too close to their home.

"They were definitely woozy," she said. "(They) didn't understand what was going on, couldn't speak, couldn't walk. It was pretty bad."

Burton is also using a generator at her home, but she has hers set up away from her home in a detached garage. She said she might move it even farther away after seeing what happened to her neighbors.

"They didn't even smell it," she said. "They didn't know anything. It had been running all day yesterday. He had got up around 4 o'clock this morning and had actually filled it, not even realize it was still leaking into his house before getting up at 5 and realizing something was wrong."

Willie Jones with Hanover County Fire and EMS said this week, more people are buying and using generators. He's afraid they might not read the instructions -- letting a deadly gas into the house:

"It's a deadly circumstance to have that thing in your house," Jones said. "You can't smell it or see it and it just enters your home and it just fills up. If you don't have a carbon monoxide alarm, there's no way you would know that."

Firefighters say you should set up your generator at least ten feet from your home.

"A lot of people keep it close because it's easier to fill up with gas," Burton said. "It's easier to have control of it. When the storm's going, you don't think about it being so close and it being able to seep it into your house."

A lot of people are setting up generators inside their garage. Firefighters say the exhaust can seep through the walls or ceiling and enter your home. You'll experience flu-like symptoms if you have carbon monoxide poisoning.

Firefighters say you should also buy a new carbon monoxide detector if your current one is more than five years old.

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