TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Two people were hospitalized Friday morning after a generator caused high carbon monoxide levels at a Tampa apartment, fire officials said.
Tampa Fire Rescue said crews were sent to the Oaks at Riverview Apartments on North Florida Avenue after a man in his 50s was found unconscious in his unit.
While rescue crews removed the man, they noticed that there was a smell of exhaust in the area.
Rescue crews searched the building for other patients and found a working generator in a first-floor apartment and another in a third-floor unit.
Tampa Fire Rescue said hazmat crews discovered high levels of carbon monoxide in the apartment building, affecting 12 units in total. Officials said those units had to be evacuated.
Fire officials said two people were taken to a local hospital, with one person still in critical condition. Three other residents were examined for CO poisoning, but they refused to be treated.
The department said the building was cleared after the units were ventilated floor by floor.
Captain Henry Williams with Tampa Fire Rescue says the generators were brought in the day prior, after a small fire broke out in one of the units.
Water damage from the sprinklers forced management at the complex to get a 3rd party restoration company to bring in generators. Those generators were left on.
Officials believe the generator on the first floor caused the carbon monoxide leak.”
“It is so important for us to preach and get the word out about having carbon monoxide detectors,” Williams said. “This could’ve been fatal, and it’s colorless and odorless and if you’re not alert to the situation you may be a victim of that.”
One tenant by the name of Chris says two of his children started feeling sick.
“They started to feel headaches, throwing up over there, mom took them to the doctor, they’re waiting on poison control and we’ll see from there,” Chris said.
He wants someone to come forward and take responsibility for putting him, his children and his neighbors in danger.
“You get worried, right now I’m paranoid about what can happen because you don’t wake up to that stuff, and it was a mistake by whoever put the generator in the house,” Chris said.
8 On Your Side contacted Tampa Housing Authority for more information, including the name of the restoration company, but the agency has not responded.