Four people suffer carbon monoxide poisoning blamed on faulty gas heater
Four people, including an infant, have been released from hospital after suffering carbon monoxide poisoning, believed to have been caused by a faulty gas heater in their home.
Paramedics were called to the property in Maidstone, in the city’s west, about 7:15pm last night.
They found a man and a woman, aged in their 30s, suffering from dizziness and tightness in the chest.
The pair were taken to hospital in stable conditions.
Another man in his 20s and an infant were taken to Sunshine Hospital for observation, Ambulance Victoria said.
One of the men indicated to emergency services he believed he was suffering from carbon monoxide exposure, as he had experienced it once before overseas.
The four people were released from hospital on Tuesday.
Energy Safe Victoria (ESV) later confirmed they had suffered carbon monoxide poisoning.
Carbon monoxide exposure:
- You can’t see or smell carbon monoxide but it can be deadly
- Symptoms are often mistaken for flu and include headaches, dizziness and nausea
- It’s recommended all gas heaters are serviced at least every two years by a registered gasfitter
- Ask the gasfitter to test for carbon monoxide leakage
Firefighters were called to the house and shut off the gas and ventilated the property.
They believe the family’s gas heater was the source of the carbon monoxide.
ESV did not reveal what model of heater was being used, but was planning to carry out testing at the home today.
Heater fears follow death
ESV last week revealed it was moving to ban the sale of open-flue gas heaters in the state.
The ban follows the death of Sonia Sofianopoulos, who died when carbon monoxide leaked from her gas heater in her public housing unit.
Ms Sofianolpolous’s neighbour had also been suffering carbon monoxide poisoning prior to her death.
The director of energy safety at ESV, Paul Fearon, said it was not just older heaters that had the potential to cause illness.
“All heaters, irrespective of make and model, have the potential to generate and spill carbon monoxide, particularly if they are unserviced, there are issues with the chimney or flue, and the house or apartment is well-sealed and fans [are] operating” he said.
“Carbon monoxide is odourless, you can’t taste it or smell it.
- Energy Safe Victoria says if you have a Vulcan Heritage or Pyrox Heritage heater, you should not use it until it is tested by a qualified gasfitter
- If you have one of these heaters, call the manufacturer, Climate Technologies on 03 8795 2462 to arrange testing
- If you live in DHHS housing, call 1800 148 426
Mr Fearon said people needed to be particularly careful about running fans and heaters at the same time.
He said people needed to ensure their heaters were being tested by gasfitters who had specific training.