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Sad News: Tent death ‘classic’ poisoning from barbecue fumes

From across the pond, a story about barbecue taking a life

A woman who died while sleeping in a tent with a smouldering charcoal barbecue suffered “classic” carbon monoxide poisoning, an inquest has heard.

Tracey Screen, 34, from Chesterfield, Derbyshire, died while on holiday in Gwynedd with her husband and children.

Benjamin Screen told the inquest his wife’s death had left a “big hole” in their lives.

Coroner Dew Pritchard-Jones recorded a verdict of accidental death.

The inquest in Caernarfon was told Mr Screen and the youngsters, aged seven and four, were treated in hospital after he raised the alarm.

The family were staying a campsite at Gyrn Goch, between Pwllheli and Caernarfon. Gwynedd.

David Evans, of North Wales Fire and Rescue Service, said the barbecue had been lit at about 17:00 BST and a meal cooked, and then more charcoal added to maintain some warmth.

He said the couple retired to bed between 22:00 BST and 23:00 BST.

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The smouldering of barbecue embers will create carbon monoxide and this is an obvious danger with barbecue used in a confined space”

Dewi Pritchard-Jones
Coroner for north west Wales
He explained that as the coals began to cool the level of carbon monoxide would have risen.

The hearing was told the barbecue was moved to the central area of the tent.

Mr Screen told the inquest how he felt dizzy and fell to the floor after getting up in the night.

He said he tried shouting for help but got no response. Eventually he said he managed to crawl outside the tent and shout for help.

Mr Dewi Pritchard-Jones said: “The symptoms you described are classic carbon monoxide.

“The obvious lesson is barbecue charcoal is almost pure carbon and will create carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide.

‘Easily avoided’
“The smouldering of barbecue embers will create carbon monoxide and this is an obvious danger with barbecues used in a confined space.”

He added: “People should be aware of the dangers because fires and carbon monoxide deaths can be easily avoided.”

After the hearing, an emotional Mr Screen said his wife’s death had left a “big hole.” He said: “We miss her and love her.”

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