Tony Pitt – October 2011

Richard,

I just wanted to drop you a quick note to say thank you for publicising the issue of Carbon Monoxide poisoning following the terrible event last year.

As a direct result of the publicity about Katie’s death, I made absolutely sure that there was a Carbon Monoxide detector in the shared house in Southampton that my daughter moved into last year as a 2nd year undergraduate at the University there. While I knew the theory about the danger before that, I had never done anything about it.

Yesterday during tea, our phone rang. Since we were eating, we ignored it and no message was left. Instead, my wife’s mobile rang. It was my daughter to say that the carbon monoxide detector was showing a non-zero reading, and what should they do. My wife said that we were eating and that I would call back after we’d finished. I called my daughter immediately, and told her to turn the gas off to the boiler, to open all the doors and windows, and to get everyone out of the house immediately. She said that a number of them in the house had had cold/flu-like symptoms for a few weeks, which is not unusual in October at University – “Freshers’ flu”, they call it. However, she also said that she and another girl had been feeling slightly sick that day.

I spoke to Rebecca a number of times over the following couple of hours. The Carbon Monoxide detector was reading 33, with a peak of 51, but dropped quickly to 0 again once the house was ventilated. Later in the day, they had a visit from an emergency gas person who checked there was no gas leak, and put a sticker on the boiler saying that it shouldn’t be used until it had been checked. None of the house residents’ symptoms got any worse during the evening, so we decided the immediate risk was over, so long as the boiler was switched off. This morning, they have managed to reach the landlord, and someone is coming in to look at it later.

The reason that I’m writing this is that I’m convinced that my daughter and/or others in that house would have been dead by this morning, if it hadn’t been for that carbon monoxide detector and the discussions we’d had about it. It’s clear that the boiler was filing the house with Carbon Monoxide, and they wouldn’t have known.

It must have been with very great difficulty that you talked about Katie after her death, and I’m sure it still causes you pain to think about that event. I hope that it will bring you some comfort to know that that publicity has saved the lives of my daughter and the six others with whom she shares that house in Southampton.

Please feel free to share this email with others, if you wish.

I notice that the “Donate online” button on the web-site is still not active. Is it possible to donate to the Katie Haines Memorial Trust online yet? If not, then I will be making a donation by another means soon.

With very heart-felt thanks,

Tony Pitt, CISSP, M.Inst.ISP