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Carbon monoxide accident claims 2 lives in Fresno

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) -- Two men were killed and a woman was injured when fumes from a generator used to provide electricity poisoned them with high levels of carbon monoxide at a small Fresno warehouse, fire officials said Wednesday.

The two men had been dead for six to 12 hours when the warehouse's owner found them Tuesday, said Fresno Fire Department spokesman Koby Johns. Their identities have not been released. The woman was in critical condition.

The warehouse was used to store collectibles and furniture for an online business, Johns said. The owner allowed the two men, both in their 40s, to live inside the warehouse in exchange for some labor, he said. He had not seen the victims for several days and discovered them when he came to the warehouse to give them a phone card.

Fire officials said the men used a generator to power the warehouse, because electricity had been shut off a few days earlier.

The owner, Darrell Pretzer, told KFSN-TV that he let the men stay in the warehouse because they were homeless and he knew one of them. He said he warned them not to use a generator in the warehouse.

Pretzer said the woman was breathing when he arrived. Firefighters believe she had tried to revive the men. Officials were still trying to identify her, Johns said.

Johns said two weeks before the accident, firefighters gave a news conference just down the street on the importance of carbon monoxide alarms and handed out alarms to residents.

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