Blocked flue cause of death
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
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
"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
"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.
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