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Shapiro & Appleton

Poisonous Fumes from Generator Hospitalize Chesapeake, VA Man

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Hurricane Irene has claimed more than 40 lives, most of them by causing floods or bringing down trees. Electrocution from downed power lines also accounted for a number of deaths during the storm.

Our experienced Virginia/Carolina attorneys also reported on how a teen was killed in a car accident caused by the hurricane in North Carolina.

But a hidden danger has been revealed in the case of a 44-year-old Chesapeake, Virginia (VA), man who came close to death after breathing poisonous fumes from a gas-powered generator he set up after he lost power, the Virginian-Pilot reported.

He woke up with a splitting headache and became dizzy when he went to the garage to check the generator. The man then fell down the stairs and collapsed in the garage. At some point, he was able to open the electrical garage door by hand and managed to make it to his driveway where he collapsed. Emergency workers took him to Sentara Leigh Hospital in Norfolk, VA, where he was placed in a hyperbaric chamber that removed the carbon monoxide from his blood. 

In this case the victim of carbon monoxide poisoning is lucky to be alive, although exposure to the gas can have long-term health consequences. Sadly poisonous carbon monoxide gas from a generator appears to have caused the deaths of a man and a woman in Maine (ME), MSNBC.com reported.

Carbon monoxide poisoning has been highlighted during the hurricane because of the use of generators but it can occur in a variety of settings. See this video about the dangers of carbon monoxide.




Last year we highlighted how five employees of the Snowshoe Mountain Resort in Pocahontas County, West Virginia (WV) were taken to a local hospital following exposure to high levels of carbon monoxide
. Reports indicated that a leak occurred in the Seneca building's boiler system, according to the Charleston Gazette. The incident raised serious questions on how Snowshoe management did not check on the boiler system, allowing a leak to develop that caused employees to become seriously ill.

Carbon monoxide may be an invisible and odorless gas but this doesn't mean companies that maintain buildings or run generators are invisible to legal liability.

DM
 

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