Denia couple’s narrow escape from home blaze

DENIA – THE dangers of a careless attitude to safety in the home were highlighted again last week when an elderly couple from Denia narrowly missed death in a fire in their fifth floor apartment. It seems that a mobile heater had been place under a table in a bedroom, causing the initial fire that released large quantities of smoke.

Had the couple’s daughter in law not called the fire brigade the couple may well have died.

The husband was 89 and wheelchair bound, and his 83-year-old wife was of limited mobility. Both were taken by ambulance to Denia hospital where they received treatment for breathing difficulties following smoke inhalation. Neither person required further treatment.

Not so fortunate were a Spanish couple in Elche who recently died in their sleep apparently from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Their bodies were discovered by their sixteen year old son and it is believed they asphyxiated because of a faulty mobile butane heater in their room. Post mortem tests have yet to confirm the exact cause of death.

Butane heaters in a sealed space can also cause asphyxiation because they use all of the oxygen in the room. Here, all windows were shut, as was the door to the bedroom, denying any ventilation.

With the massive rise in the price of electricity over the past year butane heaters are being used more and more, and over the last 12 months sales of bottled gas have risen by at least 30 per cent in Alicante Province.

Experts recommend that people with mobile gas fires check the tubing to ensure it is not rotten and leaky.

If it is impractical to have the heater checked by a professional (old heaters become faulty and can leak or even explode) check the flame is constant and not subject to variation through blocked rotted or rusted pipes.

Always use it in a well ventilated room.



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