Two family members have been discovered dead whereas four others are in critical condition after suffocating inside their house.
According to Luke Owoyesigyire, the deputy Kampala Metropolitan police spokesperson, the incident happened at Wantoni zone, Central division in Mukono municipality, Mukono district when a family left a burning charcoal stove inside the house as they slept at night.
“When their father returned in the morning, there wasn’t any response from the house and forced the door open only to find all the six were unconscious and on checking, two of them had passed on,”Owoyesigyire told the Nile Post.
The police mouthpiece identified the deceased as Dalton Malagala,2 and Godfrey Mutagaya,4 whereas their mother, Halima Nakato,27, Catherine Nalumansi,12, Percy Mulerwa,11 and Latifah Margaret Ndibasa, 6 are in Mukono Health Centre IV where they are admitted .
“The medical officer who’s attending to them says the victims suffered carbon monoxide poisoning though there were no signs of inhaling smoke but their bodies smell smoke and they were all low on oxygen.”
Owoyesigyire said preliminary investigations indicated that the family left food on charcoal stoves as they slept and when the father returned, the house had a smell of smoke whereas the occupants were unconscious.
“It should be noted that residents of Mukono have a tendency of leaving food cooking while they sleep and it has resulted into a lot of deaths,” he noted.
According to police, this incident brings to three, the number of people who have died of suffocation caused by leaving charcoal stoves in the house at night in a space of two weeks.
“People should really stop leaving charcoal stoves on and inside their houses as they go to sleep,” Owoyesigyire advised.
Similar cases of death by suffocation have on many occasions happened in various parts of the country after victims inhale huge amounts of carbon monoxide, a colourless, odorless, tasteless and harmful gas that kills silently without even causing the slightest of pain.
Experts say carbon monoxide is produced as a result of partial combustion of carbon in fuels like petrol, charcoal and wood and when inhaled( carbon monoxide) combine with hemoglobin in the lungs.
This prevents oxygen from combining with hemoglobin which is the part of the blood that transports oxygen around the body and in this case, carbon monoxide replaces oxygen in the body .
As a result, cells perform their body functions without oxygen after being starved and consequently a person loses consciousness.
Consequently, a lot of poisonous lactic acid is released from the liver and kidney and spreads to the heart leading to death.