EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - Fire officials with the Evansville Fire Department are warning people about the dangers of carbon monoxide.
The gas quickly became deadly Wednesday morning, according to Louisville investigators.
WAVE, our sister-station in Louisville, reports a father and his 3-year-old son died and his 7-year-old daughter is in critical condition after they were found unconscious inside a small garage in Valley Station.
“The car was inside the garage, the children appeared to be inside the car and the male was outside of the car,” Louisville Metro Police Department Lt. Emily McKinley said. “It appeared to be that he had warmed the car up while it was in the garage, and trying to get the kids out the door to school and start the day."
Police said the father didn’t show up for work and the 7-year-old didn’t show up for school, so concerned family members went to the house, WAVE reported.
All three family members were taken to Southwest Hospital, where the father and 3-year-old were pronounced dead. The 7-year-old was taken from Southwest Hospital to Norton Children’s Hospital.
EFD Station #1 Captain Kirk Kuhnel tells 14 NEWS, carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas. It’s lighter than air and spreads quickly.
“Especially if you have power outages this time of year, if you have generators, make sure they’re outside,” Cpt. Kuhnel said. “With a car, definitely if it’s enclosed, you’ll get a large amount of CO in a short period of time.”
In high concentrations, Cpt. Kuhnel said CO can be deadly in less than five minutes, and symptoms of poisoning often mimic the flu.
“Headaches, you know, especially if the whole family are having symptoms, that’s something you need to keep in the back of your mind,” Kuhnel said.
LMPD Lt. calls death of father, 3-year-old 'horrific accident'
“Appears to be a horrific accident,” McKinley said. “This is just a reminder in the cold months to be cautious of running vehicles inside of closed, indoor areas, specifically garages. Be aware of the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning. That is what this appears to be at this time.”
Police said the mother had already left for work when it happened.
Investigators said the carbon monoxide levels were so high that they had to wait a while before they could go inside. It’s not known how long the car had been running inside the garage, WAVE reported.
Police haven’t yet identified the victims. Neighbors have set up a small memorial outside the home.