Hurricane Irma: Collier man found dead in garage; carbon monoxide poisoning suspected
A Golden Gate Estates man was found dead in his garage Monday morning of possible carbon monoxide poisoning.
Yusdel Moreno Iglesias, 35, was found face down next to a car with blood running from his nose, according to a Collier County Sheriff's Office report. His girlfriend found him but could not call 911 because she had no cellphone service and couldn't drive to get help because of flooding, the report states. She screamed for neighbors to help.
This is the first Hurricane Irma-related death being investigated by the Sheriff's Office, said spokeswoman Michelle Batten. According to a Friday report from the American College of Emergency Physicians, Florida has had 74 cases of carbon monoxide poisoning in the past two days.
Collier County deputies patrolling the Estates district were flagged down by residents and told about a "possible deceased male" in the area of Everglades Boulevard and Second Avenue Northeast about 8:40 a.m. Monday, according to a Sheriff's Office report.
Residents led deputies to a home in the 3600 block of Second Ave. NE, where they were met with "a strong smell" of combustion byproducts in the house and the garage. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas.
Deputies went inside the garage and found Iglesias lying face down on the floor next to a car.
Iglesias' girlfriend of 14 years, Lidicis Garcia Villafana, told investigators he had told her about 9 p.m. Sunday he was going to the garage to cool off inside the car. He also wanted to charge his phone and their 9-year-old daughter's iPad, the report states.
Villafana and her daughter went to sleep in the girl's room, according to the report. The woman told investigators that Iglesias went inside the house to grab a pillow and blanket so he could keep charging the electronics in the car.
Villafana woke about 7:30 the next morning and realized her boyfriend wasn't in the house, the report states. She went to the garage and found him on the floor.
Their daughter went to the garage when she heard her mother's screams, but before the girl could see her father, Villafana grabbed the girl and ran outside with her.
Neighbors stayed with Villafana and her daughter while others walked down the road to try to flag down help, according to the report.
Reached by phone Friday morning, Villafana said she and her family are trying to help her daughter cope with her father's death.
"She doesn't understand," Villafana said. "I'm taking her to church so they can help me explain this to her."
The family is planning a funeral for Saturday, she said.
Here some safety tips from the Collier government to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning:
- Do not burn charcoal or gas grills inside a house, garage, vehicle, tent or fireplace.
- Never use a generator indoors, including in homes, garages, basements, crawl spaces, and other enclosed or partially enclosed areas, even with ventilation. Opening doors and windows or using fans will not prevent CO buildup in the home.
- Place generators outdoors on a dry surface, away from doors, windows, vents, and air-conditioning equipment that could allow CO to come indoors. Follow the instructions that come with your generator.
- Install battery-operated CO alarms or plug-in CO alarms with battery backup in your home, according to the manufacturer’s installation instructions. The CO alarms should be certified to the requirements of the latest safety standards for CO alarms (UL 2034, IAS 6-96, or CSA 6.19.01).
- Test your CO alarms often and replace dead batteries.
- Remember, you cannot see or smell CO, and portable generators can produce high levels of CO very quickly.
- If you start to feel sick, dizzy or weak while using a generator, get to fresh air right away.
- If someone else appears seriously ill from CO, call the Florida Poison Information Center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call 911 immediately.