Woman and girl killed heating home with car in Texas storm

Almost three million customers still suffering power outages in state

Louise Hall
Wednesday 17 February 2021 13:35 GMT
2.5 million without power in Texas as snow and ice blanket southern Plains
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A woman and child have died in Texas after trying to heat their home with their car during a brutal winter storm, authorities have said.

Houston Police Department confirmed on Tuesday that a woman and a female child had died from carbon monoxide poisoning in what appeared to be an accident.

The department said they had been dispatched to a house on a welfare check and that upon entry they found two adults and two children affected by carbon monoxide poisoning.

Police confirmed that an adult woman and young girl, who is reported to have been eight years old, did not survive and said that an adult male and a reported seven-year-old boy were transported to a hospital.

“Initial indications are that car was running in the attached garage to create heat as the power is out,” the police said before warning “cars, grills and generators should not be used in or near a building.”

According to ABC13 authorities said the woman was on the phone with a relative in Colorado while sitting in the running car when she became disoriented and passed out.

Police reportedly said that they discovered the woman dead in her vehicle and that the girl was found dead in the condo, which was attached to the garage where the car was running.

The tragedy came as millions of people continued experiencing power outages as a result of a harsh winter storm sweeping the US. Almost three million customers in Texas were still without power on Wednesday, according to poweroutage.us.

"It’s a very difficult time. A lot of people are without power," Lieutenant Larry Crowson told ABC13

"I know it’s cold, but you’ve got to be careful about using generators or cars inside a garage, or any type of fire, grill or charcoal grill. Carbon monoxide is odorless and can kill people very easily."

The storm, which has seen about 200 million people across the US be placed under some kind of weather-related alert, has brought extreme conditions to a number of states that are not acclimatised to harsh weather.

Amid the brutal weather, the Federal Emergency Management Agency warned Americans on the safe use of generators amid ongoing freezing weather across the country.

“Generators can cause dangerous hazards like fire or carbon monoxide poisoning,” the agency said on Twitter, alongside a list of advice on how to use generators safely.

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas, which can cause sudden illness and death. Unsafe use of gas-powered generators can cause the gas to build up in the home leading to poisoning the people inside.

Every year, at least 430 people die in the US from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

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