The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

February 10, 2013

Mass. boy dies of carbon monoxide in running car

BOSTON — An 11-year-old Massachusetts boy died of carbon monoxide poisoning Saturday after being overcome as he sat in a running car to keep warm, while his father was shoveling snow to get the car out of a snow bank.

Boston Fire Department spokesman Steve MacDonald said the boy was helping his father shovel the snow in the Dorchester neighborhood but got cold, so his father started the car and the boy got inside the vehicle. MacDonald said the car exhaust was covered by a snow bank, causing the fumes to collect in the car.

“I don’t know how long the boy was in the car, at some point the father was still working and was unaware of the boy’s condition,” said Boston firefighter Octavius Rowe, who lives nearby and went to help. “So very, very unfortunate.”

When the boy was overcome by the fumes, the father went into respiratory arrest and emergency workers took both to Boston Medical Center, officials said. The boy was pronounced dead at the hospital. No names were released.

Rowe said he was at home when he noticed a commotion in the street. He went outside and saw the father leaning against a pile of snow, Rowe said.

“I came over to the car where it all started and the father appeared to have lost consciousness,” Rowe said. “He was semi-conscious and laying on the snow bank, and I wanted to first get him off that cold surface.”

Rowe said he put the man on a flat surface to revive him. He said the boy apparently had been taken into an apartment building where a woman was administering CPR. Paramedics from the fire department and Emergency Medical Services arrived and provided oxygen to the father to stabilize him and tried to engage him in conversation to keep him alert.

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