A Passaic, NJ mother and her two children have died of carbon monoxide poisoning while waiting in the family car as the father shovelled snow blocking the vehicle.
The victims, identified as Sashalynn Rosa, 23, Messiah, 1, and Saniyah, 3, by ABC7 News, were waiting in a the family’s white four-door Mazda on Jan. 23 as Rosa’s boyfriend, identified as Felix Bonilla, tried to clear snow surrounding the car.
When Bonilla checked on his family, he couldn’t wake them up.
All three victims were rushed to hospital where they later died.
Officials believe no one knew the tailpipe of the car had been blocked with snow.
“Any snow that covers your tailpipe, you want to shovel the snow from the back of the car and clear the tailpipe before you even start the car,” Battalion Chief Chris DiBella of the Passaic police department told CBS.
According to The Washington Post, the family had been stuck inside their home over the weekend when a snowstorm hit the state. The family was trying to clear the snow away from their vehicle when the cold became too much to handle, leading the mother and two children to take shelter inside the car. Bonilla continued the task.
Carbon monoxide has been described as a “silent killer” that is odourless, colourless and tasteless, but toxic.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said between 1999-2010 over 5,000 “unintentional” deaths were caused from carbon monoxide poisoning in the U.S., averaging to 430 deaths per year.
Residents of Passaic reacted to the news of the deaths, with one woman saying she knew that the “boy don’t [sic] have life…” when she saw him. She said both herself and paramedics tried to resuscitate the three with no luck.
Another unidentified person told CBS the situation is hard to believe.
“These two lovely people, healthy people – to lose them like that…” he trailed off.
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