Coroner calls for new regulations following death by carbon monoxide

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A recent inquest into the death of a former forester, Leslie George Bateman, has held that Mr Bateman died as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Mr Bateman was found dead at his home at Cawdor Cottage, Stackpole Court on the 7th February 2008, aged 87.

During the inquest which was held last week, the Coroner heard that a fuels maintenance expert had inspected the premises and described the presence of “a strong smell of sulphur” in the kitchen, which was poorly ventilated. Following a smoke test on the Rayburn appliance which usually ran on smokeless fuel, it was discovered that the chimney was 99% blocked. External maintenance doors leading to the chimney were rusted shut and it was clear that it had not been cleaned for years.

Mr Bateman’s daughter-in-law commented that the last time she visited her father-in-law in the week prior to his death, she had noticed a “tarry coaly sort of smell” around the kitchen area.

The inquest held the verdict of death from carbon monoxide poisoning produced as a result of inadequate maintenance of flues and chimneys of a solid fuel appliance.

The Pembrokeshire Coroner, Michael Howells, further called on the Government for new regulations and guidelines for solid fuel appliances, indicating that at present there are no specific regulations in place.

Bryan Nott, Partner at Simpson Millar commented, "people commonly associate carbon monoxide problems with gas appliances in the home. More needs to be done to get the message out that any fuel burning appliance can have the potential to give rise to carbon monoxide poisoning".


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