Three die in Cornwall, UK caravan park of suspected carbon monoxide poisoning
February 25, 2013
Carbon monoxide poisoning is thought to have been the cause of the deaths of three people and one Jack Russell dog in a caravan park in Cornwall in South West England. Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS) were alerted to the incident in Tremarle Home Park in the town of Camborne at 12:56 UTC on Saturday.
Inspector David Eldridge said Devon and Cornwall Police were alerted to the caravan park incident after "a helper had been unable to get a reply from an elderly couple who lived in the caravan". He said that upon their arrival, "We were able to see that there was a figure sat in a chair but they were unresponsive to knocks at the door." CFRS workers called to the area "forced entry into the property and found that the three occupants were all dead", Inspector Eldridge said. A hazardous material advisor was also present at the scene in North Roskear. The Health and Safety Executive is now investigating the incident but the deaths are not considered as being of a suspicious nature.
The three fatalities have been identified as Audrey Cook, aged 86, her husband Alfred, aged 90, and Maureen, their 46-year-old daughter. David Biggs, a member of Camborne Town Council, said the incident came as "a shock" to him; Tremarle Home Park is "a well established facility and is very well run", according to him. Biggs described the loss of three lives as an "appalling tragedy".
The incident came five days after Cornwall Council announced its Family Placement Service would launch a joint venture with Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service to place carbon monoxide detectors in the houses of foster carers. The programme, entitled 'Be Gas Safe', has seen 200 carbon monoxide detectors and 2000 leaflets to raise awareness about carbon monoxide being given to CFRS. Mark Blatchford, Group Manager of CFRS, said: "We have seen a big increase in the number of carbon monoxide incidents in Cornwall over recent years". He described carbon monoxide detectors as being "as important as a smoke alarm as it provides a valuable early warning".
Carbon monoxide is a poisonous, colourless, tasteless and odourless gas which is created when such carbon-based fuels as oil, gas, coal and wood are not completely incinerated. The human body's capacity to hold oxygen in the blood can be reduced by inhalation of the gas, which in turn may cause death. The Gas Safe Register has said dizziness, headaches, queasiness, lack of ability to breathe, fainting and losing consciousness are all symptoms of a person experiencing carbon monoxide poisoning.
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