Tragedy prompts warnings about using outdoor heaters inside

THE investigation into the death of two people and their dog in Ballarat continues on Monday, with Energy Safe Victoria inspecting the scene.

Energy Safe Victoria (ESV ) executive manager Sharon Rainsbury said the organisation would conduct tests to help police prepare a report for the coroner.

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The young couple and their dog were found on Friday night and police believe they had been using a butane gas heater inside the car to avoid the chill.

Ms Rainsbury said while it was too early for ESV to comment on the specifics of the case, appliances attached to portable gas bottles were not designed for use in confined spaces.

“As gas burns, it produces combustion products which contain carbon monoxide and other noxious gases,” she said.

“Without proper ventilation, carbon monoxide levels can build up quickly, reaching fatal levels.”

The incident follows the death in August 2012 of a Ballarat man who police believed used an outdoor patio heater connected to a 9-kilogram gas cylinder inside the lounge room for heating.

The 40-year-old was found dead in front of the television.

Ms Rainsbury said both incidents were tragic examples of why outdoor appliances should not be used indoors.

“Carbon monoxide is a silent killer as you can’t see it, you can’t smell it and you can’t taste it.

“The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can include headaches, fatigue and nausea,” she said.

“And it’s not just the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. If you use these appliances inside, you could also die from oxygen depletion.”

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