Family found dead from suspected carbon monoxide poisoning in their caravan

An elderly couple and their daughter, who was in her 40s, were found dead yesterday from suspected carbon monoxide poisoning in their static caravan in Cornwall.

The family and their pet dog were discovered after apparently using a heater to keep warm during a freezing night at Tremarle Home Park in North Roskear, Camborne. Firefighters, police and a specialist hazardous material adviser were called to the caravan after the family failed to respond to knocks on the door from the couple’s helper who became worried.

Carbon monoxide poisoning has led to a number of fatalities in recent years and is thought to have caused the death of a woman in St Ives, Cornwall, earlier this month.

Inspector David Eldridge, of Devon and Cornwall police, said: “Shortly before 1pm we were called to a caravan park near Camborne in Cornwall, where a helper had been unable to get a reply from an elderly couple who lived in the caravan.

“We were able to see that there was a figure sitting in a chair, but the occupants were unresponsive to knocks at the door. Cornwall fire and rescue were called. They forced entry into the property and found that the three people were all dead.” A spokesman for the fire and rescue service confirmed carbon monoxide poisoning was believed to have caused the deaths.

David Bigg, a member of Camborne town council, expressed his shock at what he called an “appalling tragedy”.

“Tremarle Park is a residential caravan site and has provided homes for people for many years,” he said. “It is a well-established facility and it is very well run.”

Police are continuing with their investigations.

Carbon monoxide is an odourless, colourless gas often dubbed the “silent killer” and has been the cause of a string of recent deaths in campsites and caravan parks. Inhaling the fumes, which are caused by the incomplete burning of fuels, such as coal, wood, petrol and oil, prevents the red blood cells from being able to carry oxygen and can often be fatal.

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