Two people who died Tuesday night of possible carbon monoxide poisoning in Prince George’s County, Maryland, were brothers who had lost power at their home after Monday’s snowstorm, family told our sister station Telemundo 44.
The siblings were identified by family members as Carlos Ramón Carranza and Luis Eduardo Carranza.
Relatives described them as hardworking and kind. The Carranzas had moved to the U.S. five years ago from their natal El Salvador and had recently started a baking business.
“Ever since they arrived in the United States, they started working cutting grass, and then they started making bread, making sweets,” his cousin Nelson Mauricio Herrera told T44. “Their business started growing and growing. They had the illusion they could eventually buy a house in El Salvador. That dream has been left behind.”
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Firefighters responded to a home on South Springfield Road in the Brandywine area, the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department said early Wednesday. A roommate discovered the Carranza brothers unconscious and a third person who was sick inside the home and contacted authorities, family said.
Carlos and Luis Carranza were confirmed dead on the scene, officials said. The third person was taken to a hospital with life-threatening injuries.
A generator was found running in the home, officials said. Portable generators produce carbon monoxide, an odorless, colorless gas that can kill people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Authorities are investigating the deaths as potentially linked to carbon monoxide, officials said.
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Family members told T44 the brothers had lost electricity at their house and that they decided to plug their portable generator inside their living room to get some heat.
Portable generators should not be used inside homes or garages, even if windows are open, the CDC says.
The brothers were the sole providers for their mother and younger brother, who live in El Salvador. “I don’t have words, I don’t want to accept this reality,” their mother, Elsy Carranza, told T44’s Dario López Capera.
Relatives set up a fund to return the brothers’ bodies to their native country and help their mother.
"They were the only thing she had to survive. They paid for the rent, everything. Now that they are not here, she doesn't have anyone who can help her," their cousin, José Herrera, said.
Carbon monoxide poisoning is linked to hundreds of deaths and thousands of illnesses every year throughout the country. The CDC recommends installing CO detectors in your home.
Stay with News4 for more on this developing story.