top story

Sarasota family nearly killed by over-charged golf cart

  • 0

SARASOTA, FL (WWSB) - One Sarasota family is grateful to be alive after firefighters discovered deadly gas throughout their home.

The family didn't even realize there was a colorless, odorless gas floating through their house. They evacuated within a few hours, but if they waited any longer, they may not be alive to share their experience.

"The whole thing is scary," said Ferrell Marrs.

Her carbon monoxide detector likely saved her family's life.

Marrs told ABC7 she learned her carbon monoxide detector was out-of-date last week, so when she heard the backup system alarm sound, she took the warning seriously.

"We have no gas in the house," explained Marrs. "Why in the world would we have carbon monoxide going off? It makes no sense to us."

"It could be a false alarm but more importantly it could be something that's deadly," said Sarasota County Fire Chief Michael Regnier of the alarm.

The problem wasn't carbon monoxide. Sarasota County's Hazmat team and firefighters blame the family's golf cart for producing a deadly hydrogen and sulfur-dioxide based gas.

"We do see this with golf carts where people are charging their golf carts in garages," explained Chief Regnier.

Regnier said owners of older golf carts to be cautious while charging the batteries in an enclosed space. If the battery becomes overcharged, it can give off hydrogen gas.

"The charging system that they have is not one that turns off once the battery is charged right away," stated Chief Regnier.

"I don't want to use this anymore. It scares me," explained Marrs. "You don't know how much you've ingested, you don't know how much is in your blood stream."

Now Marrs doesn't want to move her golf cart, which is her main form of transportation, out of her driveway and into the garage. She is living with epilepsy, and can't drive a car for safety reasons.

Although the golf cart sent her and six other people in her house to the emergency room, she is grateful she can warn others about her near-death experience.

"It happened to us and it could happen to you too," cried Marrs.

The National Golf Cart Association recommends charging carts outside, but if it has to be inside, make sure there is ventilation. If a homeowner hears the carbon monoxide detector going off, evacuate immediately and call 911.

Copyright 2018 WWSB. All Rights Reserved.