HOUSTON, Texas – A woman and a girl died from carbon monoxide poisoning in Houston after authorities say the family used a car for heat during the winter storm that has knocked power out in parts of Texas.
The Houston Police Department says its officers were performing a welfare check at a home when they found two adults and two children affected by carbon monoxide poisoning inside Tuesday.
While the woman and girl didn’t survive, police say a man and boy were transported to an area hospital. Their conditions weren’t provided.
KTRK and KPRC report the deceased girl was 8 years old, while the surviving boy was 7 years old.
Police say initial indications are that a car was running in the garage attached to the home to create heat, because the winter storm had knocked out the power.
Officials told KTRK that the deceased woman was on the phone with a family member while sitting in the running car before she became disoriented and passed out. That relative then called 911.
Officers say they want to emphasize that cars, grills and generators shouldn’t be used in or near a building.
Lt. Larry Crowson told KTRK that he knows it’s difficult time, but residents need to be careful about what they do to keep warm, because carbon monoxide is odorless and can kill people easily.
Carbon monoxide, or CO, is found in fumes produced any time you burn fuel in vehicles, small engines, stoves, lanterns, grills, fireplaces, gas ranges or furnaces, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It can build up indoors and poison people and animals who breathe it.
The CDC says to never run your car or truck inside a garage that is attached to a house, even with the garage door open, and to always open the door to a detached garage to let in fresh air when you run a car or truck inside.
Click here to learn more about how to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.