Generator safety tips in light of Maine cabin deaths

By: Rebecca Turco

Email: rturco@abc6.com

PROVIDENCE – An increased call for generator safety, after four young adults ages 18 to 23, from Attleboro and Mansfield, died at a family cabin in rural Maine, likely from carbon monoxide poisoning.

The medical examiner’s office in Maine will perform a toxicology test to determine if that is, in fact, how they died.

“My heart goes out to these people because it's tragic,” Captain James Galligan of Lake Mishnock Fire and Rescue in West Greenwich told ABC6 News.

The victims have been identified as Keith Norris, Deana Powers and siblings Brooke and Matthew Wakelin. Maine authorities believe they had died three days before their bodies were discovered.

Carbon monoxide detectors are the only way to detect the gas, since you can’t see or smell it. And after enough of the gas enters your body, rescue options are off the table. “There's nothing we can do on the rescue side to resuscitate you after prolonged exposure to CO poisoning,” explained Galligan.

The cabin the victims were staying in had a generator running in the basement. “That’s a disaster waiting to happen,” Galligan said. “Generators should be outside. [They have] to be vented properly.”

Galligan recommends having a professional install the generator and monitor it yourself, bringing a professional back if necessary. “Every couple of months or just before the winter, open up your generator system, make sure the debris is cleared if any wildlife was in there.”

© WLNE-TV 2015