Two recent poisonings prompt warnings about propane products

Two recent poisonings prompt warnings about propane products - CTV Barrie: New warnings about 'silent killer'.  Carbon monoxide is called the silent killer and two recent deaths in our area have prompted new warnings about the dangers of products frequently used by campers and cottagers.

When Terry Sherlock goes camping his cooler is full of food that needs to stay cold. “We just use a good old Coleman cooler,” Sherlock says. “We freeze bottles of water and that does us.”

Collingwood Fire Chief Trent Elyea says people need to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.Collingwood Fire Chief Trent Elyea

But campers are no longer limited to using frozen water. There are a variety of new coolers on the market that work like portable refrigerators. They can run off your car battery, or even propane.

But two separate cases of carbon Monoxide poisoning in cottage country over the weekend have highlighted the danger of using propane coolers, especially in an enclosed area.
An 11-year-boy died near Parry Sound sleeping in the family van while a propane cooler was operating inside. In Burks Falls, a woman died sleeping in a cottage. It's believed her death was caused by fumes from a propane cooler as well.

The Technical Safety Standards Authority has launched a formal investigation into the two deaths.

There are four different models of propane coolers approved for use in Canada. CTV Barrie purchased one at Canadian Tire and brought it to the fire hall in Collingwood for a closer look.
The cooler is approved by the Canadian Standards Association and has several labels that warn to use it in ventilated areas.

Collingwood Fire Chief Trent Elyea started the unit and measured for carbon monoxide but found none. He says the unit works well under ideal conditions.

But the two deaths are a powerful reminder that carbon monoxide is always a danger where there is combustion.

“It's doesn't matter if it’s a large space or a small space it's dangerous any time you have an open flame it's going to create carbon monoxide so our recommendations are always make sure it’s well ventilated, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations, the unit is CSA approved, it has all of the warning labels and everything,” Elyea says.

Marian Disimone is an avid camper. She had no idea using a cooler could be deadly and plans to let her friends know “so they can be aware how dangerous it really is definitely, because they must of sold millions of them.”

The TSSA is not releasing the exact make and model of the coolers involved in the two deaths at this time. They expect to have more information available once their investigation is complete in about a month.

Link to article: Two recent poisonings prompt warnings about propane products

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