Greenville, OH – The Palladium, By Rachel E. Sheeley- A Greenville man using a generator to provide electricity to a home without power may be the first area death related to the regional ice storm that wreaked havoc on area just north of the Richmond area Wednesday.

Robert L. Hocker, 65, was found on the enclosed back porch at 101 Palm Drive in Greenville and his death is being attributed to carbon monoxide poisoning, according to the Greenville Police Department.

Carbon monoxide likely built up in the attached garage where the generator was running and filtered into the house.

“Carbon monoxide is an odorless, invisible gas. You can’t smell it,” said Chuck Gasper, a senior firefighter and shift officer with the Greenville Fire Department.

“Carbon monoxide attaches to your hemoglobin in your blood stream, your red blood cells, 200 times faster than oxygen and crowds the oxygen out of your bloodstream,” Gasper said. “Sometimes, by the time you realize what’s going on, it’s slowed your reflexes and you may not get out.”

A friend of Hocker called officials to the home at 10:12 a.m Friday. Hocker was the only person in the house.

Gasper said that when firefighters arrived, their monitors showed the carbon monoxide count in the house at 700. It should be zero.

“People don’t realize if you’ve got a generator in an attached garage, even if the door is open, if you turn on an exhaust fan in the bathroom, it can create negative pressure and pull it back into the house,” Gasper said.

“The best thing to do if you’ve got a generator is keep it away from the house,” he said.

Gasper said this is the first problem with carbon monoxide the fire department has encountered this year, but there were several problems, one severe, last year.