herald

Tuesday 14 August 2018

'We're lucky to be alive', says housemate after three escape killer gas

Jennifer McCormack and her roommates had to leave their
house in Alderwood Park, Tallaght, after a gas leak
Jennifer McCormack and her roommates had to leave their house in Alderwood Park, Tallaght, after a gas leak

A woman who was hospitalised along with two friends for carbon monoxide poisoning has said they are thankful to be alive after a lucky escape.

Jennifer McCormack (24) and housemates Rachel and Emma, from Alderwood Park, Tallaght, noticed a strange smell coming from their kitchen late on Tuesday and contacted their gas supplier.

When Gas Networks Ireland arrived shortly after 8.30pm, they detected a high level of carbon monoxide.

Dublin Fire Brigade and gardai arrived at 9.15pm and the house was evacuated as heavy snow began to fall.

Boiler

Speaking to the Herald, Ms McCormack said the gas leak appears to have come from their boiler.

She said when an employee from Gas Networks Ireland arrived, he immediately asked them to air the house out.

"We got a smell of gas yesterday evening in the house and were not really sure what it was. I gave Gas Networks a call because we were worried," she said.

"As soon as the man walked in his machine started beeping and he asked us to open all the windows and doors.

"Then he said, 'You need to get out of the house now, your reading is through the roof'."

Ms McCormack said that had it not been for all three of them being out of the house at work during the day, it could have been a lot worse.

"They called the ambulance and we were all brought in for checks and bloods and that. Thankfully we weren't exposed to it for too long," she said.

"Only for we smelled it, we're very lucky. If we had stayed the night, they said there's a high possibility we would not have woken up. It's a bit of a shock."

She added that she and another housemate had some symptoms but had not initially linked them to carbon monoxide poisoning.

"Both of us were suffering headaches. One of the girls had bloodshot eyes and one of us had pains in our legs," she said.

All three women had to find alternative accommodation.

The fire brigade tweeted that an ambulance and fire engine from Tallaght station treated three people at the scene.

It also posted a warning notice describing the symptoms to look out for in carbon monoxide poisoning cases, including headaches, nausea, breathlessness, collapse, dizziness and loss of consciousness.

Preventable

According to Gas Networks Ireland, carbon monoxide (CO) is a colourless, odourless, poisonous gas and is a common yet preventable cause of death.

Around half of the deaths from unintentional CO poisonings result from the inhalation of smoke from fires.

Other significant causes are vehicle exhausts and deaths in industrial/commercial settings.

On average, between one and two people die each year in Ireland from unintentional CO poisoning in the home in incidents related to domestic heating or other fossil fuel installations.

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