Boy, 3, dies, mother in critical condition after carbon monoxide poisoning, authorities say

Structure they lived in had no ventilation

By Josh Skurnik - Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - A young boy is dead and his mother is in critical condition from what investigators believe is a case of carbon monoxide poisoning.

It happened in D’Hanis in Medina County. Officials believe the small structure they lived in had little ventilation.

A family member who lives next door said 18-year-old Saphire Cardenas lived in an 8-by-8-foot structure on Brickyard Road with her mother, father and 3-year-old son. The family had nothing but a bed and fan inside the small room.

With plywood and construction felt for walls, the room only had one window with an air-conditioning unit through it.

“I’m sure when they were building this structure, they didn't know they were building a coffin, but that's what that turned out to be,” Medina County Sheriff Randy Brown said.

Cardenas’ grandmother lives down the street. Just after 1:30 p.m. Monday, the grandmother found Cardenas and the boy passed out inside the room.

Cardenas was taken to University Hospital in critical condition. Emergency medical services personnel pronounced the 3-year-old dead on the way to San Antonio.

What investigators believe happened is that the generator powering the structure gave off fumes, which the air-conditioning unit pumped straight into the room.

Brown said the room was full of carbon monoxide.

“This is preventable stuff. It wasn't intentional, but when you look back at it, it's pretty simple about where everything was set up. It’s set up for disaster,” Brown said.

A cousin said the family had lived in the structure for about a year and had nowhere else to go.

The sheriff said there are no criminal charges at this time and it was just a tragic accident. 

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