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'We could have been killed': Deadly gas leak found at family home

By Richard Guttridge | Darlaston | News | Published:

A mother says her family ‘could have died’ after they were evacuated following a carbon monoxide leak at their home – three days after she first raised concerns about her gas fire.

Sheena Newell with one-month-old Zayne and four-year-old Rio next to the gas fire in their Darlaston home that was leaking carbon monoxide

Sheena Newell and her three children, including a one-month-old baby, were ordered to leave the property in Booth Street, Darlaston, immediately following the discovery of the toxic gas – which can be deadly if high levels are inhaled.

They were taken to hospital but after being checked over by medics it was found they had not been harmed by the gas, which has been dubbed the ‘silent killer’ as it has no smell or taste.

Miss Newell, aged 29, and her three children, Kaiden, six, Rio, four, and baby Zayne were urged to leave following the leak.

Blackened tiles

The mother said she contacted housing provider Accord when she noticed ‘blackening’ on the tiles around her fireplace.

It was scheduled to be fixed two days later but the appointment was cancelled, Miss Newell said.

The concerned mother-of-three then rang an emergency number after which an inspection of her fire by gas safety experts found there had been a carbon monoxide leak.

Accord said it had launched an investigation into ‘the problems experienced by Miss Newell and her family’.

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Miss Newell said: “The machine kept beeping and he said to get out of the house. He said carbon monoxide was leaking.

“I was scared as I’ve got three kids. He said we had to get out now. Three ambulances came out. They were concerned about the little one, my youngest is just a month old.”

Scared

She said she had yet to return to the family home following the leak.

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“I’ve been staying at my mum’s house as I’m scared to go back inside,” she said.

“All of us could have been dead. I’m scared to go back in there in case it hasn’t been cleared properly.”

A woman in her 70s died and her husband was hospitalised following a suspected carbon monoxide leak at their home in Cannock in April, prompting a warning from fire service chiefs.

Accord said it was first contacted by Miss Newell on April 25 to arrange a ‘routine repair’ to her fire and that the job two days later was rearranged by ‘mutual consent’.

A team from gas firm Cadent was sent to inspect the property on April 28 when the family was evacuated.

Safety

Accord spokeswoman Karen Donoghue said: “Accord takes gas safety very seriously, and we use an independent contractor to ensure all our work, inspections and services are of the very highest quality.

“This property received a gas service on 5 January 2018, where all appliances were certified as being in a safe and working condition.”

She continued “We are in contact with Ms Newell and we are offering support, help and advice following an understandably difficult time and we are reassured that Ms Newell and her children are safe and well.”

“We have provided alternative temporary means of heating. A new heating system is being installed today.

"Accord is carrying out an investigation into the problems experienced by Ms Newell and her family.”

Recently-elected Walsall North MP Eddie Hughes has led a campaign to make carbon monoxide alarms mandatory in newly built and rented properties that contain a gas, liquid, or solid fuel burning appliance.

He also wants owners of HMOs to do the same but for every room.

Housing minister Dominic Raab recently announced the Government would launch a review into the fitting rules around the alarms after Mr Hughes’s campaign.

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
Chief Reporter - @RichG_star

Chief Reporter for the Express & Star, based in Wolverhampton.

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