'We tried our best to save them,' said family of woman and 7-year-old who died from carbon monoxide poisoning

Thursday, February 18, 2021
Carbon monoxide kills mother and daughter
Relatives say Etenesh Mersha was running her car in an attached garage in order to charge her cell phone when the family was overcome by carbon monoxide.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- For the first time, we're hearing from the relatives who called 911 after carbon monoxide likely claimed the lives of a mother and her 7-year-old daughter. The woman's husband and their son are still in the hospital.

Etenesh Mersha and her family of four are known for their kindness. They were among the thousands of families who lost power after a horrific winter storm struck the state of Texas.

"She's very nice and her husband is very nice," said Yetimwuha Wolde, a cousin of the victims.

RELATED: Woman and 7-year-old girl die of carbon monoxide poisoning at home in southwest Houston

Negash Desta, Etenesh's cousin, said that with no power, Etenesh turned on her car in an attached garage to charge her cell phone, all the while carbon monoxide was filling the air.

"The mother, [by] off chance, somebody was talking to her from Colorado, then she fainted while she was just talking to that girl," said Desta.

The friend tried to call 911 in Houston, but without an address, they didn't know what to do. That all happened around 10 a.m. on Monday, with no luck, that friend turned to Facebook where they found Desta.

"They were just very helpless. Then, finally, the guy in Colorado just tried to find people in Houston on Facebook. As a matter of chance, he found me as a friend. He's not family, [but] he left a message on Facebook at 8 p.m.," said Desta.

When police arrived at the request of the Houston Fire Department, Etenesh and her 7-year-old daughter had not survived. Her husband and son were rushed to the hospital, where Desta says it's a miracle they survived because the car was still running in the garage.

"We are very surprised how they survived," Desta said.

The family has started a GoFundMe to help with expenses. Desta said Etenesh's son is still in the ICU. They hope this raises awareness about the dangers of carbon monoxide, an odorless, tasteless gas.

"We lost a big family. I'm very sad," said Wolde.