Homeowner Wakes Up To Noxious Fumes, Helps Family Escape

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Seven people, including police and firefighters, are recovering after they were exposed to noxious fumes at a home in southwest Miami-Dade.

Rosita Black, the mother of a woman still hospitalized, called it an unfortunate accident after the family had just come back from a trip to Orlando.

Her son-in-law, Christopher Hawkins, charged up his car’s battery inside his garage at a home near S.W. 227th Street and 103rd Court. However, she said he got distracted and made the mistake of leaving the engine running all night.

The following morning, just before 5 a.m., Hawkins, his wife Rahsannah, and their 17-year-old son Kanann were rushed to Jackson South Community Hospital after they were overcome by fumes. Three Miami-Dade firefighters and a police officer were also hospitalized.

All were released within hours, except Rahsannah.

“She has a little bit more problems in the blood than we did,” said Hawkins. “She passed out for a short time.”

Two dogs and a hamster were also rescued. Officials removed two bags of hazardous materials.

“We had a hazardous materials team with a meter to deduce what the source was,” said Lt. Felipe Lay.

Black said her son-in-law forgot about the car’s engine running when he started cooking in the kitchen.

“He had a dead battery in his car so he let it run,” she said. “He let the car run and got distracted while cooking and he forgot. He didn’t know anything until 4:00 this morning when he got this woozy feeling. He woke up the rest of the family. They were upstairs sleeping.”

It was a miracle he woke up.

“Thank God everybody’s okay, not worse. Thank God he woke up,” said Black. “The lesson learned is don’t try to charge your car in a closed garage. Always check it out. He was really distracted when this happened.”

Rahsannah was moved to another hospital and is receiving treatment.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue urged vehicle owners to never run an engine inside an enclosed space with no ventilation. They urge homeowners to also get a carbon monoxide detector, as it is an odorless gas.

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