Real Life Stories

Real life stories – have you been affected

If you have been affected or have a story to tell regarding Carbon Monoxide then please email it to info@katienhaines.com.  With your permission, we will then add your story to our page here for others to read.

April 2016

Andy and Kirsty

“Andy and I came home from holiday recently and while we were away we turned the AGA right down to the pilot light, as soon as we got home I turned the AGA up half way (as I’d been told to by an engineer) to warm everything up before I turned it all the way up. I then went upstairs with the bags and came back down about ten minutes later and walked into the kitchen, as soon as I did I suddenly felt very very ill indeed, my heart started racing, I started shaking and I immediately felt very sick and very faint and could feel myself losing consciousness and blacking out. The Carbon Monoxide alarm in the kitchen was going mad and flashing as fast as I’d seen it. I immediately called Andy down from upstairs (he was about to have a shower and wouldn’t have been back downstairs for a good half an hour or so) and I told him we need to get out of the house right now and switch the gas off at the mains.

I took the phone outside with us and called the emergency gas line and there we stood in the rain thanking our lucky stars that we knew enough about Carbon Monoxide poisoning to have acted quickly, which is entirely down to you and the Katie Haines Memorial Trust.

Andy didn’t feel any of the effects as he was upstairs at the time and by the time the gas engineer came out, as the doors had all been left open, then the levels had gone down, though I still felt ill when I entered the kitchen.

It turns out that in adverse weather conditions while we’d been away, the flue to the AGA had become blocked and the kitchen had very quickly filled with a combination of Carbon Dioxide and Carbon Monoxide. An AGA engineer came out a day or two afterwards and showed me the different stages and levels of Carbon Dioxide and Carbon Monoxide that would have been in the kitchen at the time when I walked in and it was the second level down which showed poisoning symptoms of unconsciousness within 2 – 5 minutes and death within 20 minutes. He suspected that if the dogs had been here, they would not have survived and that if I hadn’t immediately realised what was happening,  if I’d stayed in the kitchen and fallen unconscious until Andy came downstairs, then it could have been a very different and more tragic outcome altogether.

Another thing that was interesting is that I’d been turning the AGA to what I thought was half way up but it turns out that I’d been turning it too far and in fact had inadvertently switched it to full power and full gas without realising it, which is never recommended as a cold flue takes time to warm up and can’t cope with a sudden influx causing gases to escape, which is something I’ll be warning anyone with an AGA about.

The engineer said we had Carbon Monoxide alarms in all the right places, which is thanks to you and your awareness campaign and the Trust (which the engineer was very well aware of) and he also recommended another alarm in a different room to keep all bases covered, which we’ve now done.

So thank you once again, without knowing about Katie’s story I never would have known or realised what was happening and acted so quickly, and for anyone not being aware of Carbon Monoxide poisoning and not having an alarm is a very scary prospect indeed which makes your campaign so very important, as situations like this happen every single day in households everywhere!”

April 2016

Pati & Jerry – “A week last Sunday our carbon monoxide alarm went off in the evening – we brought the one from upstairs down and that too bleeped. We opened the windows and doors and called the emergency number on the alarm. They were with us within the hour (free call out) and detected carbon monoxide and blocked off the gas outside. A chilly evening ensued (!) and we called a heating engineer the next morning. The emissions from the outside flue were huge and they had come inside due to a possible fault in the boiler. So a new boiler it is and how lucky we were. Everyone should get a carbon monoxide alarm as promoted by the brilliant work of the Katie Haines Memorial Trust in memory of our friends’ daughter Katie who tragically lost her life to carbon monoxide poisoning.” 

Jilna – January 2016

I have just watched fake Britain after a friend recommended I see it based on this story.  I cannot tell you how upsetting it was to watch, not just because me and my husband were both poisoned a week after our honeymoon where we both nearly died, but also upsetting to see what happened to Katie.  I just wanted to message to convey my thanks for the amazing work you are doing.  Through social media, I’ve tried to promote the use of proper carbon monoxide alarms since we were poisoned, especially because I am suffering brain and ear damage as a result of a faulty gas fire in the flat below us.

The flat is in Brentwood and you can read the news article here.

But I have always wanted to do more and I applaud the work you are doing.  It is important to note though that the man in the flat below us died within half an hour and was probably there for a few days.  Doctors said they had never seen such high levels of CO before – 3000ppm.

Regards Jilna

Mike, October 2015

Just listened to radio Oxford (with Gordon) covering the new legislation about the installation of carbon monoxide detectors to rental properties. As a landlord l will now ensure my properties using fossil fuels such as gas cookers, heaters and boilers all have alarms fitted. Keep up the excellent work.

Olivia Murray – April 2015

My name is Olivia Murray and I read an article a while ago about Katie. I was so very sorry to hear of the loss of Katie and I suppose the article particularly affected me because when I was about 15 I very nearly died from CO poisoning. I realise now how lucky I was to survive – I received excellent treatment at Whipps Cross hospital in two of their hyperbaric oxygen chambers – although I recall they were very claustrophobic. I was very fortunate indeed ( though it did have quite an impact on me just pre my GCSEs as I had counselling for PTSD and flashbacks) and realise how different things could have turned out. Since then I have not surprisingly been very cautious and careful to get boilers checked (my incident happened when I was staying at a friend’s house overnight and it transpired their boiler had not been serviced for years, if at all) and have even been know to take CO alarms on holiday.

I just wanted to say that I think the work you are doing to raise awareness of this issue is fantastic and that if there is anything I can do to assist you in this mission, as a CO poisoning survivor, I should be very pleased to do so.

Best wishes
Olivia Murray

November 2012 – Lucy Chant

As a friend of Katie and a Trustee of the KHMT, I am well aware of the dangers of CO. This is why I still can’t quite believe what happened to my husband and I last week. We were busy getting ready upstairs in our house on Thursday morning. I headed downstairs to make breakfast and as I opened the kitchen door I realised our Carbon Monoxide Tester was going off. I quickly opened the back door and called to my husband. We reset our CO detector but it went straight off again and was showing a reading of 600 parts per million. Fortunately we knew to get out of the house and into fresh air. We called the gas engineer who turned our gas off and condemned our boiler. The levels of CO were so high that they would have been fatal in 3 hours. Without a CO alarm I dread to think what would have happened.We like to think a guardian angel was looking over us that morning. It reminds me how important it is that we continue to raise awareness of the importance of having an alarm. I speak to people almost every day about this and am still shocked that many people do not have an alarm. Protect yourself and your family by getting one today. It could save your lives.

Lucy Chant