Generators Bring Death, Danger During Power Outage

One death, a house fire and other problems have come as the Lehigh Valley's powerless try to use generators in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.


Some left powerless by Hurricane Sandy have turned to generators for heat and light - but one death and two fires are grim reminders that generators must be used with extreme caution.

These four cases happened in the Lehigh Valley in just two days:

  • A Lower Macungie Township woman died Tuesday after being overcome by exhaust fumes from a portable gas generator. Tammy Kerosetz, 48, of 3663 Schoeneck Road, had a generator running in her garage, according to the Lehigh County coroner.
  • An Upper Macungie garage was damaged Tuesday after combustible materials next to a generator's exhaust caught fire. Firefighters were able to keep the fire from spreading to the home, but a family of four is temporarily displaced. Damage is expected to be more than $15,000. 

Follow these generator safety tips:

  • Generators should be used in well-ventilated locations outside -- away from all doors, windows and vent openings.
  • NEVER use a generator in an attached garage, even with the door open.
  • Place generators so that exhaust fumes can't enter through windows, doors or other openings in the structure.
  • Carbon monoxide detectors should be installed in the home.
  • Turn off generators and let them cool down before refueling. Never refuel a generator while it is running. 
  • A homeowner must remember to store fuel for the generator in the appropriate container and outside of the living area. 
  • If you must connect the generator to the house wiring, have a qualified electrician install a properly rated transfer switch to prevent backfeeding the system.  
Staberdearth November 01, 2012 at 11:16 AM
Really? Running a generator in ones garage? This is sadly a fatality that DID NOT HAVE TO HAPPEN! You tell people, you tell them again, you print up huge warning placards on the generators themselves, and you still can't get through to some folks! Generators do not bring death! Stupidity in improper use of them does!
Susan P. November 01, 2012 at 01:03 PM
Yes we are all stupid sometimes.... Lets not blame the victim.
Crestor Januvia November 01, 2012 at 03:35 PM
Natural selection at work....
Staberdearth November 01, 2012 at 03:44 PM
Some stupidity is permanent. I am not sure how to take your comment. Is it high sarcasm? It's not like generators don't come with warnings, warnings, and more warnings...
Staberdearth November 01, 2012 at 03:47 PM
A bit harsh. It is really more ignorance than stupidity though. Stupidity is really a guess at judgment of mental capacity. Ignorance is the failure to acquire, in this case, the necessary safety information before putting oneself at risk! Nothing is really 100% fool proof as fools seems to not mind keeping themselves ignorant despite everyone else's best efforts to combat their self affliction.
Carl W November 01, 2012 at 09:02 PM
I take your comment very well. Thanks for making it!
Carl W November 01, 2012 at 09:12 PM
Please remember, kerosene heaters are 100% ILLEGAL in aprtment buildings in Allentown. With eating the oxygen, and giving off the odorless Carbon Monoxide, they can be a silent killer. Despite safety devices, they can still explode & put you, personally, in flames. If people want to take the very dangerous risk, they can't do it in a building where they endanger there neighbors, too. (As a local firefighter, I was overcome by Carbon Monoxide. It was awful! Fortunately, my crew put me on resucitator right away, watched me closely, & sent for ambulance. YOU don't have a "crew" trained, & with resuscitator around).
Mary Anne Looby November 02, 2012 at 12:37 AM
@Staberdeath, there is a huge difference between stupid and ignorant. YOU ARE IGNORANT!!!!!!!!!!!! A woman lost her life, have some compassion, or shut up!
Carl W November 02, 2012 at 12:59 AM
Mary Anne Looby", I am not "Staberdearth," so if you feel he/she's inhumane, write him/her, not me, please.
Staberdearth November 02, 2012 at 09:17 AM
I stand by my statements. I'd suggest that it be dealt with within yourselves. To clarify (again) the woman's death is a sad event. Once again, generators do not bring death, improper use of them does! If you do not know how to use them, whose fault it that? Misinterpret all that you like.
Gerry Kranz November 02, 2012 at 12:38 PM
I agree with Staber. While it is sad she died, it is her own damn fault. She was stupid. If she did not set it up, but a relative or neighbor did, then they are dumb as a rock AND a criminal. These things have warnings plastered all over them and the boxes they are packed in, and the warnings were ignored.
Staberdearth November 02, 2012 at 05:03 PM
Wow! At least one person who has some sense of sanity! Remember as well, in the same line of ignorant thinking, guns are dangerous, but the people using them....well, you know... I never ever met a gun that had malice towards me, did you. Same of a generator. Sheesh, are folks really as dumb as a box of rocks!
StacyAnn November 02, 2012 at 08:32 PM
Poor woman. All she wanted was to stay warm and have some light. RIP Tammy.
Jeff Lotte November 02, 2012 at 08:53 PM
Victim? Yeah, lets blame the inanimate object....It is a shame that some people die of their own hand, but some, just like the gun grabbers would rather place the blame on the object which is completely incapable of doing anything on its own. That poor woman, attacked by a generator....you just can't make this crap up!
Chris November 13, 2012 at 03:21 AM
Wow running a generator in a garage hmm is that smart like really NOT!!! come on people Yamaha Generators Honda and all other generators that have Briggs and stratan engines have warning stickers on them and also on the box DO NOT RUN INSIDE god people today are not smart just saying that is 100% not thinking stight and never learned to handle gas poward machines in life the right way
Anonymous November 13, 2012 at 12:38 PM
Well, there are a lot of things that people are told and they do not listen. Behind every bad decision is it because there are others that "get away with it". If every single person that ever did it would die...then nobody would ever try it. FOr instance....not everyone who has premarital sex has a serious consequence...however we as a people could avoid MOST of the marital problems and unwanted pregnancies (which lead to murder in some cases) if we just had self control and did not have pre-marital sex. What in the world does this have to do with generator deaths??? Well....please get off your high horses and realize MANY of you have not listened to the rules. There are always consequences, but sometimes they are very subtle. Sadly we only seem to get it when it relates to other people....but seem to be blinded when it deals with our own lack of self control to listen to all the rules.
Staberdearth November 13, 2012 at 12:43 PM
Staberdearth November 13, 2012 at 12:46 PM
I now know why I deal with an incredibly huge populace of douche bags who quite understandably think differently than I do and die or get maimed as a result of it! Do not lecture me on this, I have done safety training for years and have seen and heard it all. People have compassion for the dead but fail to see the root causes of how it could have been prevented. WAKE UP!
careless fills November 13, 2012 at 01:12 PM
Are you suggesting the the tradgically dead woman thought that she could "get away with it" (running generator in garage) because others might have? How would she even know that? No. Her error was either to ignore the existence or the substance of the abundant warnings, some probably even on stickers om the machine that killed her.
Mac November 13, 2012 at 02:34 PM
Compassionate group of people here in Upper Macungie. A fellow citizen/neighbor made a big mistake that cost her her life and this forum has been more supportive of the warning labels on the generators. Karma people, karma. Sleep tight.
slyfox November 13, 2012 at 05:06 PM
I concur, Frank. Many accidents happen regardless of bazillions of warning labels - smoking for example. People still do. This is a sad event and I cannot imagine relatives of people that by chance happen upon this article & read the insensitive comments made by fools that never made a mistake. One that costs a life. What a sad world we live in. Peace.
Chuck Hennet November 14, 2012 at 02:09 AM
I couldn't agree more. What a sad story. I wish people would restrict their comments to what they would actually express when addressing the family of the victim. The anonymity provided by sites like The Patch lends itself to hatred and disrespect and ignorance.


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