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Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland


Blocked Flue Responsible For World's Death

Blocked flue cause of death


Sadie BaileyTHE sister of a Lisburn woman who died from carbon monoxide poisoning after a bird's nest blocked the chimney flue of her oil fired central heating system has said she is still finding it hard to come to terms with her death.

Sadie Bailey from Carnbane Road died from the so called 'silent killer' last summer.

The day before her death she told by her sister Evelyn Walker she had

been violently sick, but had put it down to a stomach bug.

Sadie (75) was supposed to go with Evelyn on a shopping trip on the day she died, August 14 2007. But when her friend Elizabeth Wilson rang her around 8.20am that Tuesday morning she said she was still feeling sick and did not think she could go out.

Half an hour later Evelyn tried to ring her but got no reply. She assumed Sadie was just getting ready and went to call for her at 10.20am as she did every Tuesday.

But when Evelyn reached her sister's house, just a few minutes drive away, she could not get an answer. Worried, Evelyn attempted to ring her from nearby Marks and Spencers and when she still couldn't get a reply went home to get her husband. But when she got there, there was a call from Mrs Wilson who had seen Sadie through a window lying on the kitchen floor.

"She had fallen off her stool as she was trying to write a note, probably to tell me that she was feeling unwell and was not going out," Evelyn said.

A forensic report into the death found signs of sooting on the skirting in the house and further evidence which suggested that carbon monoxide was not escaping the flue but entering the house.

It said a bird cage had been placed on top of the chimney but there was already "a substantial amount of nesting" in the chimney and a heavy metal ball had to be used to break it. At a recent inquest coroner Mr John Leckey said boilers are much more effective than those installed 10 years ago and that standards must be maintained. Mr Leckey concluded that Mrs Bailey died from carbon monoxide, "the silent killer" which leads to victims " just falling asleep". He passed on his "very deep sympathy" to Mrs Bailey's family.

Evelyn said the suddenness of her sister's death had been the most shocking thing.

Sadie had been widowed just two years before when her husband Peter died of cancer. Sadie nursed him throughout his illness.

Evelyn recalled: "Sadie was loved by everyone. She stayed at home more after her husband died. They were both real characters. "She was always the belle of the ball and everyone loved them. They had a great social circle and lots of friends. After Peter died she always liked to keep herself active and kept her home beautiful."

Evelyn recalls how she noticed a blanket of haze in her sister's house after her body was found. Sadie's cat was ill when it was found inside the house.

Evelyn said her sister's death totally shocked everyone who knew her but she feels that little could have been done to prevent it.

"She did everything that possibly could have been done. She would sometimes ask me when I was in the house could I smell smoke but I never could.

"She always kept her house immaculate and had her boiler checked and cleaned a fortnight before she died. The smoke just was not getting away. When all our friends and neighbours heard what had happened it frightened everyone.

"Her death has hit us all very hard I'm still trying to come to terms with it," she said.


* A NATIONAL home safety campaign said Mrs Bailey's tragic death highlighted the need for carbon monoxide alarms to be fitted in homes following the death of a Lisburn pensioner after a bird's nest blocked her chimney, last year.

Wake Up, a national home safety campaign says that the dangers of carbon monoxide are still not widely known.

Wake Up campaigner John Walsh, Managing Director of FireAngel said: "Carbon monoxide poisoning is a real problem. However the results can affect anyone with tragic consequences yet so often can be prevented.

"We as a campaign are not only calling on people to educate themselves about the dangers of CO but ensure they are protected to prevent further injury or loss of life.

"We extend our sympathies to Mrs. Bailey's family."

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