BY Navid Iqbal, Daily Record
Carbon monoxide felled two workers power washing the basement of an unfinished Elm Street house addition early Thursday morning, authorities said.
The workers, Ramone Cabrera, 32, of Summit, and Janio Andrade, 25, of Elizabeth, were using a gasoline-fueled power washer when they were overtaken by carbon monoxide, apparently from the unit’s exhaust.
Both men fell ill, but one of them managed to call 9-1-1.
The Florham Park First Aid Squad, the fire department and medics from Morristown Memorial Hospital were dispatched, but Patrolmen Brian Ford and Phil D’Alessio were first at the scene.
The officers saw Cabrera and Andrade on the basement floor and climbed down a ladder to reach them, authorities said. Stairs had not yet been built in the newly constructed basement.
The officers helped one of the barely conscious workers out of the basement, but when they tried helping the other worker, he became “very combative,”authorities said.
“One guy was really out of it,”said Police Chief Kim Chapman, who was at the scene and climbed down the ladder to help the two officers. “He didn’t know what he was doing. He was overcome from the fumes.”
Chapman said the source of the carbon monoxide may have been the power washer, although the incident is still under investigation.
Leaving the power washer on without proper ventilation is “like leaving your lawnmower on in your garage with your garage door closed,” Chapman said.
An official from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration temporarily shut down work at the site, Chapman said.