Tragic Florida Accident Highlights Dangers of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

by Carmen Dellutri on September 22, 2011

Fort Myers personal injury lawyerA 23-year-old Florida woman was found unresponsive in her apartment last week after a car was left running in an adjacent garage. Officials have confirmed that she died of carbon monoxide intoxication. Sadly, she is just one of hundreds of Americans who die from carbon monoxide poisoning accidents every year.

According to Tampa Bay Online, the colorless, odorless carbon monoxide fumes from the vehicle seeped into the apartment, leaving Rebecca Hawk and her roommate unconscious. At the time of her death, Hawk had carboxyhemoglobin levels estimated at 50 percent, the medical examiner's office said. A smoker would have levels of about 10 percent, while a nonsmoker would have levels in the 5 percent range, the office said.

"This is a tragic accident," said Capt. Lonnie Benniefield of Tampa Fire Rescue. "But it's certainly a preventable accident."

While carbon monoxide detectors are relatively inexpensive and can alert a resident to the dangers of the poisonous gas, most Florida apartments, such as those at Vista Grande at Tampa Palms where Hawk died, are not required to have them.

As noted by Ray Yeakley, spokesman for Hillsborough County Fire Rescue, carbon monoxide detectors don't get the same attention in Florida as they do in Northern states with colder climates and more fuel-burning appliances.

"It does have its place down here, though," Yeakley said of the carbon monoxide detectors.

This is especially true since many carbon monoxide deaths are caused by portable generators, frequently used during Florida’s hurricane season. In 2005 alone, the Consumer Product Safety Commission recorded at least 94 generator-related carbon monoxide poisoning deaths.

For tips on how to avoid a potentially fatal carbon monoxide accident, please check back with us tomorrow.

The Dellutri Law Group is focused on making bad situations better and putting lives back together. If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a Florida carbon monoxide accident, you may be entitled to compensation.

To learn more about your legal options, contact our experienced injury attorneys for a free consultation.


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