Six members of a family including four young children were treated for carbon monoxide poisoning after their grandmother set up a barbecue in the familys kitchen to help dry her washing. Having draped the washing around the kitchen and lit the barbeque she then left the house.
The alarm was raised when the woman’s three-year-old granddaughter was overcome by the deadly gas and collapsed. She was later treated in hospital along with five other relatives; two boys aged two and 10 months, a four-year-old girl and the woman’s two daughters-in-law, aged 26 and 29.
Fortunately Firefighters were called to the home in East London last Wednesday afternoon, soon after the grandmother set up her makeshift clothes dryer, as one adult was already feeling unwell before the little girl collapsed. All six have now been discharged from hospital and can count themselves lucky. Carbon Monoxide is an insidious lethal gas which is colourless and odourless and impossible to detect without the aid of a carbon monoxide alarm. If you happen to be asleep when CO concentrations reach lethal levels, tragically death is the probable outcome.
Clearly using a barbecue indoors is a pretty crazy thing to do and leaving it lit and unattended is beyond my comprehension, but carbon monoxide poisoning is more often generated from carbon fuel burners, such as gas and solid fuel central heating boilers, ovens and fires found in every home. The gas is created by incomplete combustion of fuels often due to poor ventilation and blocked flues in faulty or poorly maintained appliances.
If you want a New Year resolution you can keep we urge everyone to install a carbon monoxide detector and make sure your family is protected. Over the past ten years the installation of smoke detectors in literally millions of homes and businesses has resulted in year on year falls in fire related deaths. So we know fire detectors and alarms work to save lives. The threat posed by Carbon Monoxide should be treated with the same respect particularly when the cost of a CO alarm is so low.