NI fire service receiving more calls on carbon monoxide gas

Inquest hears victim had no CO alarm and engineer had told him not to use oil boiler

The fire service in Northern Ireland is receiving more calls about deadly carbon monoxide (CO) gas, a senior officer has warned.

Group commander Victor Spence said people were not fully aware of the dangers of the odourless and invisible gas.

An inquest into the death in April last year of William Stockdale (60), Newcastle, Co Down, from carbon monoxide poisoning, heard he had no alarms fitted and an engineer had advised him not to use the oil boiler in his house in the days before his death.

He had suffered a heart attack not long beforehand and coronary disease contributed to his death, a pathologist said.


Mr Stockdale had earlier that month been admitted to Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry and inflammatory markers were picked up in his blood, his family said, but he was eager to go home and was discharged.

Unable to speak properly

He was taken ill in the living room of his Castlewellan Road home and was unable to speak properly. While a paramedic was treating him he collapsed and could not be revived.

The medical technician, Paul Kennedy, was later also taken ill and Mr Stockdale's family told the inquest in Downpatrick there was a "sooty" smell in the house.

Coroner Paddy McGurgan quizzed the fire service about the dangers posed by the toxic gas, which depletes the oxygen available to the organs.

Mr Spence said: “We are attending more on a regular basis now. We would recommend people fit carbon monoxide detectors.”

At present, alarms are obligatory in new houses - but not existing ones.

Mr Spence added: “I would like to see that change, yes, to make it compulsory... people are not fully aware of the dangers.”

Press Association