Olathe family suffers carbon monoxide poisoning after using generator for only five minutes

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OLATHE, Kan. -- It only took five minutes.

One family from Johnson County says they used a portable generator when they lost power in this weekend's storms, and family became sick with carbon monoxide poisoning. That family back home after a stay in a local hospital.

It was an afternoon of terror. That's how neighbors Johnson County's Edgemere neighborhood felt as first responders poured onto S. Weaver Street on Saturday evening. One homeowner told FOX 4 News it scared her so much, she began to pray for the three people being taken away in ambulances.

"I said a prayer silently to myself. I said, 'Please pray for this family'," Ramona Bruce said on Monday afternoon.

Bruce said she couldn't believe what she was seeing in her quiet Olathe neighborhood. No one had electricity due to power outages, but everyone seemed fine to her otherwise.

That was Saturday evening, and Bruce says she'd just spoken with members of Carmen Prado's family, who reside across the street. The Prados were using a generator to power their home, and the next thing Bruce knew, the streets were filled with first responders.

"I said, 'Wanda, the ambulance is out here. I want to know what's going on. Next thing, I know, they were bringing out bodies'," Bruce said.

Bruce says she saw three people, including Prado and his two daughters, being taken away in ambulances. Jose Garcia, Prado's teenage son, told FOX 4 News the family was using that gas-powered generator in the home's garage, and they shut the door for just five minutes, and everyone started to feel dizzy and sick.

"I said, 'Oh, my God. There's something going on here'," Bruce recalled.

"It was heartbreaking to say the least," September Gibson told FOX 4 News.

Gibson also lives nearby, but says she wasn't home at the time of Saturday's incident. Instead, she watched via Facetime, as another neighbor sent her images of what was happening.

"That's when I got the photo of the four or five firetrucks, four ambulances. I can't even count how many cop cars. Just all of this chaos going on," Gibson said.

Gas-powered generator manufacturers recommend against using their equipment indoors. Garcia says his family wasn't aware of the safety hazards in doing so.

"It's something you have to be cautious about everything that surrounds you in the weather. You've gotta be prepared," Bruce said.

"It really is an honest mistake. Until my husband said that, I'm not sure I would have put two and two together myself, and that I may have been the one this could happen to," Gibson said.

The Prados returned home from the hospital on Monday afternoon, and say they're all feeling much better. Garcia told FOX 4 News he knows carbon monoxide poisoning can be fatal. That's why he believes his family is fortunate to be alive and well.

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