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November 29, 2018 01:02 PM

A Kentucky father and his 3-year-old son died from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning after they were found in the family’s garage on Wednesday, and a 7-year-old girl was taken to a local hospital as a result of the incident, reports say.

A family member found the three unresponsive in the Louisville garage, with the 39-year-old man outside the car and the two children inside the vehicle, Louisville Police Department spokeswoman Lt. Emily McKinley told reporters.

According to the Courtier-Journal, Juvenal Garcia Mora, 39, and Cruz Isaac Garcia, 3, were later pronounced dead at a hospital. The girl was taken to a local hospital in critical condition.

“They were just a sweet, precious family,” a neighbor, Joan Johnson, told WLKY of the victims. “I just had such a good experience with them. They keep their place so nice and everything, this is awful.”

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McKinley told reporters that the children’s mother had left for work, and their father was preparing to take the 7-year-old to school. It is unclear how long the trio was in the closed garage, but McKinley said that the poisoning happened “very, very quickly.”

“It appeared to be that he had warmed the car up while it was in the garage, and trying to get the kids out the door to school and start the day,” McKinley said, calling the deaths a “horrific accident.”

“This is just a reminder in the cold months to be cautious of running vehicles inside of closed, indoor areas, specifically garages. Be aware of the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning. That is what this appears to be at this time.”

According to the CDC, key ways to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning from your vehicle include:

  1. Have a mechanic check the exhaust system of your car or truck every year. A small leak in the exhaust system can lead to a build up of CO inside the car.
  2. Never run your car or truck inside a garage that is attached to a house even with the garage door open. Always open the door to a detached garage to let in fresh air when you run a car or truck inside.
  3. If you drive a car or SUV with a tailgate, when you open the tailgate open the vents or windows to make sure air is moving through. If only the tailgate is open CO from the exhaust will be pulled into the car or SUV.

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The incident happened in the Valley Station area of Pleasure Ridge Park and the coroner’s office is working to confirm the cause of the deaths, the Courier-Journal reported.

Another neighbor, Cathy Hupp, called the situation “heartbreaking,” and Johnson told WXIX that the family were more than just her neighbors.

“This is my friend,” she said. “[The boy] would walk behind his daddy, behind that lawn mower. He was timid but, he wanted to play.”

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