"Portable generators are among the deadliest consumer products. Two decades after the government identified the danger, and as climate change leads to more power outages, people are left vulnerable by a system that lets the industry regulate itself. "
"Three days after Hurricane Ida slammed ashore on Aug. 29, leveling homes and knocking out power along the Louisiana coast, Craig Curley Sr. maneuvered through a packed crowd at Home Depot to reach the aisle with portable generators.
Curley, 50, snagged one of the last units in stock, a 6,250-watt Briggs & Stratton, and drove it to the home of his ex-wife, Demetrice Johnson, in Jefferson Parish.
He tried one last time to convince Johnson, 54, to take their children to stay with relatives in Houston as officials warned it might take weeks to restore power across the region. But she was adamant: With a generator to power her appliances, she felt safe staying.
That evening, Curley helped set up the machine in Johnson’s tiny backyard. He fired up the engine and hung around long enough to make sure the air conditioner was blowing cold. He showed his teenage son how to restart it, then headed home."
Perla Trevizo, Lexi Churchill, and Ren Larson report for ProPublica and The Texas Tribune; Mike Hixenbaugh and Suzy Khimm report for NBC News December 17, 2021.