A woman in east London used a barbecue indoors to dry clothes. The incident led to six people, including four children, being taken to hospital with carbon monoxide poisoning.
On January 3 the London Ambulance Service (LAS) was called to a property in East Ham, located in London's east end. According to the Newham Recorder the medical staff found six people suffering with severe carbon monoxide poisoning and the people, two grandparents and their four grandchildren, were rushed to Whipps Cross Hospital.
The incident happened, as the BBC summarizes, because the grandmother decided to speed up the time to dry some clothes. To do this she set up an outdoor barbeque in the kitchen of the house, lit it and placed various items of damp clothing on top. At first the kitchen door, which led to the backyard was open. Later, however, someone closed the door and as a result the house quickly filled up with fumes.
Dave Brown, of London Fire Brigade, is quoted by Metro as saying: "In my 28-year career I have never heard of anybody using a barbecue to dry clothes let alone using one indoors.
"Never, ever bring a lit or smouldering barbecue indoors. Not only is it a serious fire risk but it also omits carbon monoxide (CO) which is a poisonous gas that can kill or seriously injure."
A smouldering barbecue produced carbon monoxide gas. Carbon monoxide is a toxic gas, but, being colorless, odorless, tasteless, and initially non-irritating, it is very difficult for people to detect. Symptoms of mild acute poisoning include lightheadedness, confusion, headaches, vertigo, and flu-like effects; larger exposures can lead to significant toxicity of the central nervous system and heart, and even death.
The six people have since been released.