A mother and child in Passaic, New Jersey died over the weekend from carbon monoxide that filled the family’s car instead of releasing through the vehicle’s tailpipe during Winter Storm Jonas, The Washington Post reports.
Twenty-three-year-old Sashalynn Rosa Bonilla and her one-year-old son Messiah lost their lives as her husband tried to dig their car out of the snow mere feet away from his family. The mother and son were in the car with Messiah’s three-year-old sister for a total of 20 minutes trying to keep warm before Felix Bonilla Jr. noticed they were unresponsive.
The snow covering the car’s tailpipe went undetected, pushing the deadly carbon monoxide into the vehicle. Neighbors attempted to perform CPR on the wife and baby, but it was too late. The three-year-old girl was taken to a local hospital, where she was listed in critical condition.
NBC News New York reports:
When the father looked up, still shoveling, he found his family unconscious. Neighbor Isabel Carmona said he became hysterical, “crying and jumping.”
“The paramedic, he cry, and the police cry. Everybody cry,” she said.
The town’s mayor, Alex Blanco, said the three-year-old is currently “fighting for her life.”
“The doctors say they don’t think she’s going to make it; doctor says she has a slight chance to make it,” the kids’ grandfather, also named Felix Bonilla said, adding: “It’s hard to lose them like that.”
A total of 31 people died during the storm, which dumped record-breaking amounts of snow throughout the East Coast.