CO poisoning victims released from hospital

CO poisoning victims released from hospital
Dominion Gas red tagged the furnace at the end of January. (Source: WOIO)

EAST CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - The East Cleveland Fire Department is still investigating what caused 16 people to go to the hospital with carbon monoxide poisoning earlier this week, but the people who have been discharged are blaming their landlord for their illnesses.

"It was scary for my life because I thought I was going to lose my life," said Shaiarra Parks, one of the 13 kids who were sent to the hospital. "Thank God that we're still alive for this, because, for real, we could have died in one day. Everybody in that house could have died."

"Thank you God for letting us still be on this earth," said one of the other young victims, Tiyessa Blocker.

Fear, appreciation, and anger were some of the emotions the victims shared with Cleveland 19. They are all crowded into two hotel rooms and say they don't plan to go back to the East Cleveland home, where they were poisoned with carbon monoxide.

"[The doctors] said it's good we got out [of] the house when we got out the house, because if we wouldn't have, everybody would have been dead in there. The 13 children and three adults, we all would have been in there dead," said Latasha Blocker, one of the adults poisoned in the home.

She, two other adults and 13 kids were sent to the hospital. Several kids, including a couple of Blocker's children, were sent to a hospital in Pittsburgh to be treated in hyperbaric chambers. They were released on Thursday.

"It was just a traumatic [experience]," said Blocker.

She listed a litany of problems that they had with the property before the CO incident, and even showed Cleveland 19 several text messages she had exchanged with the property owner, Marco Waller, about previous problems at the home.

Blocker said she blames Waller and the man he hired to fix the furnace for getting everyone sick.

The East Cleveland Fire Department is investigating the incident and said they hope to be able to release an update within the week.

The property owner admitted the heat was out for days before the incident, but blamed the CO problem on an old stove being used to heat the home. He also blamed the repairman he claimed was certified to do the work, as well as the tenants themselves. While he claims they messed with the red-tagged furnace, the family vehemently denies it.

"We don't know anything about it! Because I feel like, if my husband rewired a furnace and make it work, we wouldn't have been in no cold for four days! We would have been in heat!" said Blocker.

Blocker thinks Waller is lying about the entire situation to try to cover his actions and avoid trouble.

The state has no record of the business Waller said he hired to fix the furnace. The company is not registered with the city of East Cleveland. The man who claimed he fixed the furnace told Cleveland 19 he didn't do anything wrong, but would not give his full name or discuss the project.

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