Oakhurst, CA- Four members of a family, including two children, were found dead Sunday of apparent carbon monoxide poisoning in a home, Madera County authorities said.
Deputies found the bodies of a 60-year-old woman, a 35-year old male, and two girls, ages 8 and 10, in the Oakhurst house, said sheriff’s spokeswoman Erica Stuart. A dog was also found dead in the house, but three other dogs survived, along with a rabbit, a mouse and several cats.
The family was using a gas-power generator to provide power and heat after electricity to the home was shut off last week, according to Stuart. The National Weather Service said temperatures overnight in the area dipped into the high 30s.
Authorities said a 27-year-old woman, who was the mother of the two girls, survived. She “went out and had a cigarette, and ironically that saved her life,” said Stuart.
The family had placed the generator in the basement of the home, sending the carbon monoxide fumes throughout the house, according to Stuart.
“Had that generator been outside, that family would have been alive,” said Stuart.
The names of the family members were not immediately released.
The home is about 40 miles northeast of Fresno.