Police in Houston said Tuesday that a woman and one of her children died Monday evening from carbon monoxide poisoning after the woman started her car in her garage to use the vehicle's heating system to stay warm after her house lost power.
Officials said that a welfare check to a residence in southwest Houston resulted in the discovery of two adults and two children affected by carbon monoxide poisoning.
The woman and an 8-year-old girl who was found in the residence did not survive, according to police, while an adult male and a 7-year-old boy were transported to a nearby hospital for treatment.
Initial indications are that car was running in the attached garage to create heat as the power is out. Cars, grills and generators should not be used in or near a building. 202— Houston Police (@houstonpolice) February 16, 2021
The unidentified woman had been on the phone with a relative in the vehicle when she lost consciousness, prompting the relative to call 911, local news affiliate ABC13 reported.
"It's a very difficult time. A lot of people are without power," Lt. Larry Crowson told reporters at a news conference, according to ABC13. "I know it's cold, but you've got to be careful about using generators or cars inside a garage or any type of fire, grill or charcoal grill. Carbon monoxide is odorless and can kill people very easily."
Texas and much of the central U.S. were hit by devastating winter storms over the weekend, prompting blackouts affecting millions while dangerously low temperatures continue in the region.
At least 20 people have died so far from weather-related incidents throughout the more than a dozen states affected by the storms, according to The New York Times.