Jackson Township, NJ – A 13-year-old boy died of sus pected carbon monoxide poisoning yesterday after family members responded to an electricity shutoff by running a gas-powered generator in the basement of their Jackson Township home, authorities said.
William Miller, a seventh-grader at Carl W. Goetz Middle School, was discovered dead in his bed shortly before 1:30 p.m., when his mother and two of his three brothers arrived home, police said.
The teen’s father, asleep elsewhere in the house when rescue workers arrived, was not seriously injured by the carbon monoxide, an odorless, colorless killer that claims hundreds of Americans each year.
“By all accounts, this appears to be a tragic accident,” Jackson police Capt. David Newman said. At the same time, he warned against the use of portable generators inside homes, where deadly fumes become trapped.
“It’s very dangerous to run these types of generators in your home, and if you do, these types of tragic accidents are going to happen,” Newman said.
The concentration of carbon monoxide inside the Miller Avenue home was at such an “explosive” level that police evacuated nearby houses for an hour and briefly shut down the street, Newman said.
The boy’s father, Kevin Miller, a state corrections officer, had hooked up the generator in the basement of the two-story, Colonial-style home about 10 p.m. Wednesday, police said.
Earlier in the day, the family’s electricity had been cut off by Jersey Central Power & Light, apparently for failing to make payments.