THE daughter of a man who died from carbon monoxide poisoning has appealed to other people to have alarms fitted in their homes to avoid a similar tragedy.
Katie Lucey (22) discovered the body of her dad Kevin (50) sitting up in an armchair at his home last weekend. His beloved pet dog survived the ordeal and was found curled up in his master's lap.
Toxicology results confirmed the father of four – who was sitting on a chair beside a stove – had died from the poisonous gas that has been dubbed the silent killer.
"When we found him on the chair he only looked like he was asleep. His pet dog was still sitting on his lap," Katie told the Irish Independent.
"That was the strange thing about it. The dog was fine, so we think that maybe he had been in and out of the room."
Katie and her brothers Joe (19), Jake (12) and little sister Lily (3) have been devastated by the loss of their dad which has shocked the local community in Listowel, Co Kerry, where Mr Lucey was well-known and popular. She says her father didn't have a carbon monoxide alarm fitted in his house at the time of his death.
"People are not even aware there is such a thing but everyone should have an alarm put in," she added.
Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning claims the lives of about six people on average each year in Ireland, but it is believed the actual figure could be a lot higher. CO is an odourless gas that can accumulate in the home and cause poisoning, often with fatal consequences.
It is usually caused by faulty or damaged heating appliances that have not been properly maintained or serviced, combined with poorly ventilated rooms or blocked chimneys or flues.
Exposure to CO poisoning can also be increased by using a barbecue grill or outdoor heater indoors or running vehicles or lawnmowers in indoor spaces like garages.
Anyone who experiences the symptoms of CO poisoning, such as headaches, dizziness, nausea, diarrhoea or stomach pains, should immediately get fresh air and seek medical advice and stop using the appliance until it has been properly checked.
"Any appliance that burns any type of fuel produces carbon monoxide and people should make sure their appliances have been installed correctly and are serviced annually by a competent person and that flues, chimneys and vents are clear," he said.
Bord Gais runs a carbon monoxide awareness week every September and has set up a dedicated website www.carbonmonoxide.ie.
They also operate a dedicated phone line and anyone worried about carbon monoxide poisoning can contact 1850 79 79 79.