Vanluie, OH- The Toledo Blade – A Hancock County man became a victim of this week’s ice storm – dying yesterday inside his garage from carbon monoxide fumes from a generator he was using to power his house.
Clarence J. Ray, 76, of Vanlue was found dead by his wife about 9:45 a.m. after he’d gone out to the garage for firewood and didn’t return. Deputy Mike Cortez said Lois Ray told him she went to check on her husband after he’d been gone about 15 minutes and found him lying on the garage floor.
Mrs. Ray said the generator had been on for several hours. Deputy Cortez said the doors and windows of the one-car, detached garage were closed when Mr. Ray went to get the firewood.
“When I got there, they had the door up and everything, but when I walked in the fumes were still pretty apparent,” he said.
Mrs. Ray, 76, was taken to Blanchard Valley Regional Health Center, Findlay, where she was in stable condition.
Dr. Leroy Schroeder, Hancock County coroner, said he did not order an autopsy but ruled Mr. Ray’s death accidental as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Authorities say it’s imperative that people using generators place them in an appropriate location. “What they need to do is get these things out away from the buildings or put them in a well-ventilated building – a garage with the door half open so the good air can come in and the bad air can go out and not take it into the house,” said Garry Valentine, Emergency Management Agency director in Hancock County. “The ideal thing is a back porch outside or out in the backyard and run an extension cord.”
Mr. Valentine said he heard of one local family that had been running a generator in the basement without ventilation. They escaped unharmed but the house had filled with carbon monoxide, a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas. When inhaled, the gas begins replacing oxygen that is carried in the blood.
In Lima, where thousands of people remained without electricity yesterday, officials at Lima Memorial Hospital said they had treated at least a dozen people for exposure to carbon monoxide fumes from gasoline-powered generators. Several patients had to be treated in the hospital’s hyperbaric chamber.
Symptoms of carbon monoxide exposure include headache, nausea, dizziness, racing heart, and loss of consciousness.