Friday 9 December 2016

Probe into new boiler at hotel in fatal gas leak

Gardai await results of experts' technical exam

Published 30/01/2011 | 05:00

A NEW boiler installed at the Trident Hotel in Kinsale before Christmas is being investigated as a possible source of carbon monoxide poisoning thought to have killed a young Limerick woman there earlier this month.

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It was one of three new boilers installed in the hotel and was in use for over a week when Miriam Reidy, 35, died after inhaling fumes in her bedroom on Saturday, January 9, according to sources.

Miriam was a guest in a first-floor room with her sister, Patricia, 37, who survived the poisoning but spent over a fortnight in hospital. They were in Kinsale for their cousin's hen party.

The three boilers have been removed from the hotel and are being examined by technical experts, whose report will ultimately determine the cause of the suspected leak.

The garda investigation has identified at least 12 hotel guests, including Miriam, who are thought to have been affected by the fumes on the weekend of January 9. Some sought medical attention only after news of Miriam's death from suspected poisoning became public.

Detectives are still waiting to inspect the medical files.

Two doctors from the Southdoc medical group were called to the Trident Hotel over the Saturday night and Sunday morning to treat a total of six patients, including Miriam and her sister.

The first doctor was called to the hotel shortly before midnight, where she treated a couple, who were staying in a room above Miriam's, for respiratory problems. The doctor called two ambulances to bring the couple to Cork University Hospital, where the woman was kept in overnight.

The second doctor, who came on duty after midnight, was called to treat four patients at the hotel in a matter of hours, including Miriam and Patricia. He treated a couple complaining of headaches at around 4am and then two hours later was recalled to the hotel to treat Miriam and her sister.

The sisters had checked into the hotel on Saturday to celebrate their cousin's hen weekend. They were amongst only four women in the 30-strong party who were staying in the hotel. Most of the other women stayed in the White Lady nearby.

After dinner on the Saturday night, Miriam and her cousin retired to their hotel room earlier than the others, who continued partying at the White Lady. Miriam is believed to have texted a friend in the early hours of Sunday morning to say she and her sister were not feeling well. They were seen by a doctor not long after that, at around 6am.

When Miriam and Patricia hadn't checked out of their hotel by lunchtime, their cousin went to their room. Miriam was already dead and Patricia was unconscious. She was rushed to Cork University Hospital where she was placed on a ventilator.

The two other members of the hen party who were also staying at the Trident did not go to bed until 6am, a factor which may have saved their lives. Both complained of headaches and were subsequently treated in hospital.

Miriam, who lived in Tralee, was buried in her native village of Ballyhahill, Co Limerick. Her sister was too ill to attend Miriam's funeral but wrote a letter that was read at the funeral mass: "You had the biggest heart a person could have and I honestly think you have given your life so that I could live on and that is what I will do for you," she wrote.

The Trident Hotel, which overlooks the pier, remained closed until last week when the hotel bar re-opened.

Sunday Independent

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