IRMA: 7-year-old girl dies from CO exposure from generator in home

Last Updated: Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 4:51 PM EDT

A 7-year-old girl apparently died as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning from a generator being run inside a home, according to authorities.

The Polk County Sheriff's Office said Wednesday afternoon that the girl died at the home.

Deputies responded just before noon to Dossey Road South in Lakeland and found the girl's mother outside.

She told authorities that a generator was being used in the living room while she and the girl slept in a bedroom.

Before going inside, deputies opened all the home's windows because of the high level of carbon monoxide in the home. The girl was found deceased in bed.

"This is the first death our agency has worked related to Hurricane Irma," said Sheriff Grady Judd. "It's a tragedy when anyone dies, but when a child dies, it's a horrific tragedy.

"Please, please follow safety instructions that we have stressed over and over so no other tragedies such as this one occur," he said.

The mother was taken to Lakeland Regional Medical Center for treatment of her symptoms.

Generators and gas grills should be operated in well-ventilated locations, outdoors, away from all doors, windows and vent openings, the sheriff's office reminded residents.

Generators should be placed so that exhaust fumes can't enter the home through windows, doors or other openings in the building.