By WENDY ISOM, Jackson Sun
Fourteen-year-old Semone Minor aspired to go to Hollywood to become a songwriter and a rapper.
”She said she was going to be the next Tupac or 50 Cent,” said her mother, Jeannette Minor.
She spent most of this week making funeral arrangements for the Tigrett Middle School seventh-grader, who died Monday from carbon monoxide poisoning in the family’s home at 20 Tracewood Cove in Jackson. Just last year the family lost its home in Parkview Courts to the May 4 tornadoes.
The mother said she didn’t know that generators like the one she used to power fans to cool her home could cause carbon monoxide poisoning or that they are supposed to be used outside the home.
Nor did Semone’s godmother, Annie Fuller. ”I didn’t know you couldn’t use a generator in your house,” she said.
Dangerous amounts of carbon monoxide can build up for several reasons, according to a safety Web site. It can happen when an appliance is poorly insulated or maintained, if fuel burns improperly or if a room is poorly ventilated.
Semone’s pet bird and puppy also died from the fumes. Her mom stayed overnight for observation at Jackson-Madison County
General Hospital and was released Tuesday.
Jeannette Minor, who also has two 11-year-old daughters, went on medical disability two months ago and has been struggling financially. She owes about $585 for utilities at their new rental home, she said.
She received a notice on her door last week that JEA was going to cut her utilities off, and she asked for an extension. But JEA said they couldn’t give her another extension, and by Monday, the power was off.
”That’s our last resort, turning someone’s electricity off,” Kyle Spurgeon, vice president of business development at JEA, said Thursday. ”We don’t want to turn them off.”
The utilities were cut off last month, too, but that time the children’s father, Robert Pirtle, gave the family the money to get the service restored, Jeannette Minor said.
After spending most of the day seeking help from various community agencies and churches, Jeannette Minor said she returned home to wait on an answer. When the house started getting hot, she connected a fan, refrigerator and TV to a generator.
Mother and daughter watched TV together near the fan. One of their last conversations was about what channel to watch.
”She wanted to watch BET. I wanted to watch TNT,” Jeannette said. ”She won.”
Semone was the only one in the house with her mother. Younger sister Sequanta was playing outside, and Eckaleshia was at a friend’s house. Semone later went to her bedroom, where her mother later found her dead after there was no response from several knocks on the door.
The generator was running for about an hour, Jeannette Minor estimates, and it automatically shut off.
Despite the tragedy that claimed her daughter, the mother is grateful for the memories of Semone.