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Friday 20 September 2019

'All of them could be dead' - family saved after son raised alarm over gas poisoning

Coleman and Priscilla Sherlock at home in Lisdoonvarna with their children, Coleman, Martin, Priscilla, Kathleen, Miko, Corina, Nicola and Evan. Photo: Eamon Ward
Coleman and Priscilla Sherlock at home in Lisdoonvarna with their children, Coleman, Martin, Priscilla, Kathleen, Miko, Corina, Nicola and Evan. Photo: Eamon Ward

Gordon Deegan

A young family of 10 narrowly escaped tragedy after a number fell ill with suspected carbon monoxide poisoning.

A neighbour found Coleman Sherlock and his unconscious son Evan (13) slumped outside the front door of their home in Lisdoonvarna, Co Clare.

The children's mother, Priscilla, was leaning against the front door.

"Only for young Evan waking up feeling sick in the middle of the night, all of this young family would be dead," said neighbour Sean Noonan, who raised the alarm.

The Sherlocks moved into the Clare County Council long-term lease house last summer and it was not equipped with a carbon monoxide alarm. Council staff arrived at the home on Saturday to install alarms.

Mr Sherlock said he heard Evan getting up in the middle of night: "Evan told me 'I feel sick. I can't breathe.' Evan tried to open up a window, but he then collapsed.

"I grabbed him and brought him outside.

"When I saw Priscilla coming to the door and puking, I knew there was something wrong in the house and all the kids had to get out of there."

The Sherlock girls, Carina (14), Nicole (11), Priscilla (10) and Kathleen (9) were all sleeping upstairs.

The girls and the remaining boys, Martin (8), Coleman (4) and Miko (1) were brought next door to Mr Noonan's home after the alarm was raised.

They were taken to University Hospital Limerick (UHL) by ambulance, but released on Saturday afternoon after getting the all-clear.

According to Clare County Council, after ventilating the house and an inspection with a gas monitor, it was deemed safe to enter temporarily so belongings could be collected.

The house was then secured by gardaí for an investigation be carried out.

Mr Sherlock said: "We were blessed and very lucky. We could all have died. Evan could barely talk. He was pure pale. Martin had gone snow white and Coleman was very pale as well."

A spokesman for Clare County Council said carbon monoxide alarms are installed in all council properties undergoing refurbishment workings.

He said the requirement was introduced in 2017. However, the spokesman added: "The onus is on occupants themselves to have carbon monoxide alarms installed where refurbishment works have not yet taken place."

Irish Independent

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