West Chase,FL – By Julie Pace, TBO.com – A car left running in a garage overnight may be to blame for a possible carbon monoxide poisoning that left one person dead and two others hospitalized.
Neighbors reported seeing a disoriented woman walking about 4 a.m. Monday outside her home at 9660 Gretna Green Drive in The Greens, a gated neighborhood in Westchase.
When Hillsborough Fire Rescue’s hazardous materials team entered the home, it found one man dead and a second woman alive but overcome by fumes. Gas levels in the home were 35 times higher than the acceptable amount, Fire Rescue spokesman Ray Yeakley said.
The two women were taken to local hospitals, then flown to Shands Hospital in Gainesville, which specializes in treating carbon monoxide poisoning. Their conditions were unknown, but Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Deputy Leonard Diaz said at least one woman was well enough to speak with investigators.
The man and one woman were a couple visiting from New Hampshire, and the second woman lived in the house. Their identities are being withheld until relatives can be notified.
The medical examiner is determining the exact cause of death.
Diaz said the ignition of a black BMW convertible in an attached garage was turned on. One of the women told investigators the car hadn’t been moved since the three returned home about 9 Sunday night.
When deputies arrived Monday afternoon, the car was not running and appeared to have run out of gas, Diaz said. The garage door was closed, but he did not know whether a door leading from the garage to the house had been open.
There were no signs that the car intentionally was left running, Diaz said.
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that can be produced by anything combustible, including automobiles and appliances fueled by natural gas and wood. Yeakley said it can take several hours to recognize symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, which include headaches, dizziness and fatigue.