Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 5 April 2020

Fresh warning over carbon monoxide poisoning after women die in Dubai home

The domestic workers were found dead by their employer

The indoor coal heater that was left burning in the women's room. Courtesy Dubai Police
The indoor coal heater that was left burning in the women's room. Courtesy Dubai Police

Two women died of carbon monoxide poisoning in Dubai after leaving their charcoal heater burning overnight — prompting a fresh warning from police over indoor heaters.

The women, from Asia, were domestic workers and were found by their employer at his villa in Bur Dubai on Saturday.

Col Ahmed Al Marri, director of Dubai Police’s crime scene investigation department, said the man noticed the women were late attending to their duties so went to check on them in their room.

“When they did not respond, he looked inside and found them lifeless,” he said.

The sponsor called an ambulance but paramedics pronounced them dead on site.

Crime scene investigators were sent to the house to rule out foul play — as is procedure for cases of death outside a hospital.

The two Emirati experts each ruled that the women asphyxiated from carbon monoxide inhalation.

“They found the house where the incident happened had been newly constructed. Its windows and doors were tightly sealed,” said Col Al Marri, who said that this limited air circulation.

“This contributed to the women’s death by what we call the 'silent killer'.”

Carbon monoxide is an odourless, colourless gas that, once breathed in, replaces oxygen in the red blood cells. When this happens, the blood can no longer circulate oxygen around the body, causing cells and tissue to fail and die.

Col Al Marri revealed the case on Tuesday, the same day it was reported that an Indian family who lived in Dubai died of suspected carbon monoxide poisoning while on holiday in Nepal.

He said the women’s deaths are the first cases of carbon monoxide asphyxiation in Dubai this year while six cases were registered last year.

Col Al Marri called on homeowners to educate their families and workers about the dangers of indoor heaters.

This week, Abu Dhabi Police warned Emiratis and residents against the risks of asphyxiation caused by using charcoal and wood burners indoors.

The warning was prompted by an increase in the use of indoor heaters as temperatures dipped across the country.

*This story has been amended since publication

Updated: January 22, 2020 05:01 PM

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