Wednesday 21 August 2019

Widow settles case after death of husband from carbon monoxide poisoning for €170k

Stock picture
Stock picture

Tim Healy

A pensioner was overcome and died of carbon monoxide poisoning after he went to check on a house where petrol generators were turned on to power the heating of a newly constructed building.

Martin Flannery was found unconscious in his niece’s newly built house next door to his Mayo home four years ago. The house was being heated in advance of a first fix airtight test.

In the High Court this week, Mr Flannery’s widow Eileen settled an action over his death for €170,000.

An inquest in to the 66 year old man’s death recorded a verdict of accidental death. At the time the coroner said Mr Flannery was obliging his brother and his niece by checking on the house and sadly the effects were “devastating.”

The tragedy, Coroner John O’Dwyer said was compounded by the fact that most of those involved were related to one another.

Martin Flannery was found unconscious in a room at the back of the house and despite efforts to revive him, he was pronounced dead in hospital.

Mr Flannery’s wife of 42 years , Eileen Flannery, Kilkeeran, Ballinarobe, Co Mayo had sued Mr Flannery’s niece Laura Costello and her husband Declan Costello also of Kilkeeran, Ballinarobe, Co Mayo as a result of the accident on September 11,2015.

Mr Flannery was checking two petrol generators in the house his niece and her husband had built. The generators had been set up to heat the house before an air tight test.  Mr Flannery who had three children and four grandchildren was overcome and died of carbon monoxide intoxication.

It was claimed there was an alleged failure to have any proper or adequate system of ventilation.

It was also claimed the house has been allegedly allowed to become toxic with carbon monoxide fumes and to constitute a serious hazard for those entering the premises.

It was further claimed there was an alleged failure to cordon off the house while  the generators were in use and until the place had been made safe for those entering the premises.

The claims were denied.

The house was at first fix stage in construction and had an air tight test scheduled for later that day. The house had to be heated before the test and two fan heaters and an oil heater were set up off two petrol generators, as electricity had not yet been connected to the house.

Both generators had been operated in the house the night before for about an hour and were switched off overnight.

The next day on September 11,2015 the generators were turned and checked on again . Mr Martin Flannery had checked in the generators at 10.30am and was due to check on them again after bringing his wife to the local town.

When the air tight specialist arrived to carry out his test at around 12.30 pm he switched off one of the generators. He noticed a smell and became woozy as he walked up the stairs . He left the house but on return he found Mr Flannery unconscious in a room at the back. He dragged the man outside but despite  efforts to revive him, Mr.Flannery was later pronounced dead in hospital.

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