By Randy Jackson
KSDK - Survival in Bellefountaine Neighbors. Terry Crowder is one of the 180,000 Ameren customers still without power, and he's hooked up his gas-powered generator to run heaters in his home. "You just have to do what you have to do, that's all there is to it," says Crowder.
Terry is running the generator outside his garage to keep deadly carbon monoxide fumes at bay.
St. Louis County officials say local hospitals have treated 33 cases of carbon monoxide poisoning since the storm.
Riverview Fire Protection District Chief Joe Bommarito says it's a big problem. "In Glascow Village, we had a serious call for, actually it was a generator running in a basement, and we were fortunately able to get them and provide the folks with the help they needed," says the fire chief.
Terry Crowder says even though he's taking steps to protect himself from the carbon monoxide, he still worries about others using the portable generators, and there are steps they need to take.
Never run the generator indoors or inside a garage. Keep the generator dry and don't use in rain or wet conditions.
It's good advice for Crowder and his new guests. "We've had 7,8,9 people staying here hours at a time to get everybody warm and keep food, just trying to survive," said Crowder as he stood in his darkened living room.
Warmer days may be ahead. Just around the corner, 98-year-old Elva VanMierlo is returning to her heated home after staying several days away. Helping her back was Bellefountaine Neighbors City Senior Supervisor Theodore Douglas. "It's tough to go through. It's just the point of coming together and helping each other out," said Douglas as he helps the elderly resident into her house.