NASH COUNTY, NC (WRAL/CNN) – After a mother of three tried to reset a malfunctioning air conditioner, she and her 9-year-old daughter died when they were shocked by electricity.
Kendra Pittman, 30, and her three children – including 9-year-old Siiyahh – lived at an Economy Inn Hotel and Suites in Nash County, NC.
Police say Pittman was trying to reset the room's heating and ventilation unit Monday morning after an issue with the machine.
Pittman's 10-year-old son told police the unit malfunctioned and started smoking.
The temperatures outside were in the 90s that day.
The boy said his mother opened the door to let the smoke out, and when she tried to leave the room, she collapsed and lost consciousness.
Pittman died after suffering cardiac arrest when she was shocked by the ventilation unit.
Siiyahh was also shocked. She was rushed to the hospital, where she died.
"You've got families living in here, and she was just doing the right thing by trying to be a good mother, doing right by her kids, and lost her life inside her room," said the victim's cousin Tony Williams.
Police said the ventilation unit apparently charged the surrounding area, sending a jolt of electricity through the victims' bodies as they tried to exit the room.
Building inspectors were called to the scene to review the unit, and police said they would inspect the motel's code enforcement records.
The fire department provided a list of recent inspection reports for the motel, showing what they deemed "common violations."
Police have not said if charges will be filed in connection with the incident.