Monday, October 10, 2016

HURRICANE MATTHEW POST-STORM DEATHS: Daytona Beach boy killed from generator fumes; DeLeon man electrocuted to death from downed power line

Monday, October 10, 2016

 Posted at 11:24 AM Updated at 3:42 PM

 By Lyda Longa

Hurricane Matthew deaths climbed to 3 in Volusia County on Monday, a 9-year-old boy in Daytona Beach and an 89-year-old man.

The Daytona Beach boy became the third casualty Monday morning when he was overcome by the fumes of a generator inside his family's house, police said. Earlier Monday, an 89-year-old man was killed when he touched a downed power line on the west side of the county.

The youngster's family had brought the generator inside their residence, in a back room, at 113 Mason Park Drive, said Daytona Beach Deputy Chief Craig Capri. The boy's parents and his 8-year-old brother also were affected by the generator's fumes, Capri said.

A friend who came to check on the home after the accidental death identified the boy and his family. The boy who died was Jose Barrios, said family friend Janet May. She said parents Pedro and Matilde Hernandez and another son Luis Barrios were being treated at Halifax Health Medical Center.

The children are students at Our Lady of Lourdes school in Daytona Beach.

Capri stressed the danger of bringing a generator indoors.

"Please, please please put generators outside," Capri said. "Carbon monoxide gas is odorless and it can kill you within minutes."

The elderly man killed at 7:58 a.m. was identified as Marshall Bailey of DeLeon Springs, said sheriff's spokesman Gary Davidson.

Bailey was killed after touching a downed power line. He was the second person to die in Volusia County in Matthew's aftermath, Davidson said.

The line was live and sparking a small fire on the ground behind Bailey's home in the 6000 block of S.R. 11. The downed power line, yanked to the ground by a falling tree, was reported to the Sheriff’s Office, Davidson said.

Seven minutes later the Sheriff’s Office received a second call, this time reporting that Bailey was lying dead on the ground by the wire with some small flames nearby, Davidson said.

The Sheriff’s Office’s Major Case Unit is investigating and the Volusia County Medical Examiner’s Office will perform an autopsy to confirm the cause of death, Davidson said.

On Friday, Susan Mathes, 63, of 685 Hazen Road was killed during Hurricane Matthew when she went outside to feed her animals and a tree fell on her, authorities said.

In other developments Monday:

  • Roughly 15,000 utility customers had their electricity restored on Monday morning, bringing the total in Volusia and Flagler counties down to 60,514, slightly more than one-third of all outages statewide. At noon, the Governor's press office reported 16,256 outages in Flagler, about 27 percent of the utility customers and about 44,268 outages in Volusia County, about 15 percent of the total customers.
  • About 23,070 of Florida Power & Light customers, or 13 percent, have no electricity in Volusia, while Duke reports 18 percent outages, 14,334 customers, and the New Smyrna Beach Utilities Commission reports 24 percent outages, or 6,416. An electric cooperative reports 344 customers out in Volusia.
  • In Flagler County, FPL has 16,240 customers out, about 27 percent.
  • Governor Rick Scott visited Flagler County on Monday morning, taking a look at the 1.3 mile section of State Road A1A where much of the road washed into the sea.
  • Officials with the Florida Department of Transportation are putting a plan together and plan to meet with Flagler and Flagler Beach officials again on Thursday. Their initial estimate is that the road could be closed for up to one year and cost up to $35 million to repair.

Over the weekend, damage assessments continue in Volusia and Flagler counties. The Volusia County property appraiser's office announced an initial assessment on Sunday of $150 million.

President Barack Obama approved portions of the state’s request for a major disaster declaration, including assistance to cover debris removal and emergency protective measures.

Streets remain closed in some locations because of widespread tree damage. Debris piles continued to grow amidst the hum of chainsaws as homeowners, government agencies and utility contractors continued the cleanup.

Officials in both counties urged all residents to make safety a priority, including staying out of flood waters, not using water from flooded wells and throwing out food that could be spoiled from freezers and refrigerators without electricity.

Debris left by the surging seas along beaches and in the ocean prompted Flagler County officials to close the beaches until further notice because of the hazardous conditions. Beaches in Volusia County are open to pedestrians, but the county is asking beachgoers to stay out of the water. Wood from damaged piers, metal and wood from dune walkovers and large metal roof pieces have been found in the water.

A high threat of rip currents remains, and the region hasn’t fully escaped Matthew’s clutches.

Remnants of the hurricane out in the Atlantic Ocean, combined with building high pressure in the atmosphere, are creating windy conditions, with gusts up to 25 mph on Monday and Tuesday.

Flagler County officials warned residents to secure tarps covering roofs and storm damage. Steve Garten, public safety emergency manager, advised residents to cover any exposed areas to prevent additional water damage.

The National Weather Service said that wind also is expected to whip up the ocean, imperiling weakened beaches and dunes along the coast.

Schools are scheduled to start in both counties on Wednesday, as the schools work to clean and restore campuses and make sure all schools have electricity.

In Volusia County, one shelter remains open at the First United Methodist Church in DeLand. Forty people are being sheltered.

County officials are working to compile a list of residents who are unable to stay in their homes and ask anyone who can’t do so to call the county’s Citizens Information Center at 866-345-0345.