FRUITPORT TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A man died and a woman was hospitalized after apparently being overcome by the exhaust from their generator, Fruitport Township police say.
Shortly after noon Wednesday, emergency responders were called to a home on Herron Lane near Heights Ravenna Road south of Muskegon on a report of a man passed out in his garage. No one answered the door when crews arrived. They got into the attached garage, where they found the 62-year-old man and his 64-year-old wife unresponsive on the floor.
The man died at the scene. His wife was hospitalized in serious condition. Neither of their names were released.
Responders said the generator was running in the garage and there was an “overwhelming smell of exhaust fumes,” police said.
Police say the couple’s daughter sent them to the house. The wife had called her to say the two were headed to the hospital because they didn’t feel well.
“As the couple entered their attached garage, the husband/victim passed out. The wife then told the daughter to call 911,” a release said. “There was no further phone contact after this, as the wife did not answer her phone after this conversation.”
While the deaths remain under investigation, police say they appear to be the result of the generator sending “noxious air” into the garage and home.
“This is the worst we’ve seen storm-wise in North Muskegon,” said Lt. Bud McFarren. “With as wet as everything was, and as heavy as the snow was with the leaves on the trees, I think it was just more than the trees could handle and it just was a disaster.”
With the power still out in some areas, the North Muskegon Fire Department is reminding people on safety tips when using a generator.
You should never run a generator in a garage. Generators should be set up on a level place at least 15 feet from any doors, windows, vents or crawlspace entries and the exhaust should be aimed away from a the home.
“Most importantly, don’t run it inside the house,” said McFarren. “Don’t put in your garage. Make sure it’s outside. Probably at least 20 ft. from the house. Try and keep the exhaust pointed away from the house. Try not to set it up near windows, doors, any kind of opening that it could get back inside the house.”
The fire department also explains symptoms people should look for if they start to experience carbon monoxide poisoning.
“You get like a real cherry-red look on your face, you get headaches,” said McFarren. “A lot of times though, it’s too late. By the time those symptoms happen.”
— News 8’s Taylor Morris contributed to this report.