Fatal accident using cooker for heating

A 55 year old man was killed by carbon monoxide poisoning in his smoke-filled motorhome in Chula Vista, south of San Diego, California, local police have said.

Police found the body of Michael James Johnson in the motorhome following requests to see if he were alright and then forcing entry to the motorhome when they got no response.

Mr Johnson was known to light what is now known to be an unvented barbecue grill inside the motorhome which he used not only to cook food but also to keep warm. He was seen using the grill on the last day of his life.

It appears as though Mr Johnson went to sleep during which time the cooker started a small fire in the van.  After a while he woke up and got up but was almost immediately overcome by smoke and fell near the door.  The fire went out by itself and was not noticed until police entered the van.

In Europe various motorhome manufacturers are now warning against using cooking apparatus for heating.  Whereas risks of oxygen depletion are rare, they can occur, as this incident demonstrates.

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