Northern Ireland news

Cookstown woman dies in carbon monoxide leak

A woman in her 60s has died following a carbon monoxide leak at a house in Cookstown.

A HOUSE where a woman in her sixties died following a gas leak is not believed not have been fitted with a working carbon monoxide alarm.

The woman has been named locally as Susan Henry. Her husband Desmond, aged in his seventies, was rushed to hospital where he remained in a stable condition last night.

Another person, believed to be the couple's grown up daughter, was treated for carbon monoxide inhalation and transferred to Craigavon Area Hospital for treatment.

Four ambulances and a hazardous response paramedic had been called to the Drum Road house at around 6.45am yesterday morning.

Treatment was administered at the scene but Mrs Henry was declared dead shortly afterwards.

Firefighters who took gas readings from inside the house found significant levels of carbon monoxide.

Readings were also taken from neighbouring houses and two properties were evacuated for a short time as a precaution.

Known as the silent killer, carbon monoxide is a tasteless and odourless gas, once breathed in enters the bloodstream and prevents oxygen being carried around the body eventually leading to death.

Symptoms can often be mistaken for a flu and include headaches, tiredness and confusion.

Police said the woman's death was "not being treated as suspicious" but a post mortem will be carried out.

In 2010 teenagers Neil McFerran and Aaron Davidson tragically died from carbon monoxide poisoning after a gas leak in a holiday apartment in Castlerock, Co Derry.

A review following the teenagers' death forced a change in legislation and in 2012 carbon monoxide alarms became a legal requirement in all new homes in Northern Ireland, however, they are not legally required in older houses such as the one in Cookstown where the Henry family have lived for over 30 years.

A Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson said: "The thoughts and sympathy of NIFRS are with the family of the lady who died following a carbon monoxide incident at a house in the Drum Road, Cookstown on Tuesday".

"NIFRS received a call from the NI Ambulance Service to attend a carbon monoxide incident. Ambulance personnel were already at the scene and were treating two casualties, a man and woman, who were then transferred to Craigavon Area Hospital.

"Firefighters using gas monitors took gas readings from inside the property which found significant levels of carbon monoxide and ventilated the property. Gas readings were also taken from adjacent houses and two properties were evacuated for a short time as a precaution".

Ulster Unionist councillor Trevor Wilson said that the entire community "was shocked" at the tragedy and urged all householders to check they had a working carbon monoxide alarm.

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