HIALEAH — Five young men celebrating a birthday likely died due to carbon monoxide from a car they left running in a garage under their South Florida motel room, investigators said Tuesday.
A maid called authorities Monday after seeing people unconscious through a window.
Police spokesman Carl Zogby said the teenagers’ deaths appear to be accidental but that the Miami Dade Medical Examiner was investigating the cause.
In a 911 call, the maid described a strong smell of gasoline and said she was concerned because the five young men appeared unconscious. The maid told the emergency dispatcher in Spanish that she opened the door and called out “hello” and got no response.
“They’re all there and they don’t respond,” she said. “They’re sprawled on the floor. I haven’t wanted to touch them. I’m scared.”
A car used by the group was found running in a closed garage underneath the room. Friends told The Miami Herald the car had needed a jump-start earlier and could have been left running to keep the battery charged. A door to a staircase up to the room had been left open and high levels of carbon monoxide were found inside.
The maid described the smell of gasoline as horrible. “It’s a terrible stench,” she told the dispatcher.
Authorities identified the dead as Miami residents Juchen C. Marctial, 19, Peterson Nazon, 17, Jonas Antenor, 17, Jean Pierre Ferdinand, 16, and Evans Charles, 19.
The group rented the room Sunday around 9 p.m. to celebrate one of the teens’ 19th birthday.
Officials found no alcohol, drugs or suspicious items in the room.