East Ham indoor barbecue-clothes-drying poisons six people

The barbecue from the incident Fire chief Dave Brown said he had never heard of anyone using a barbecue to dry clothes

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A fire chief has criticised a woman who used a barbecue indoors to dry clothes that led to six people, including her grandchildren, being taken to hospital.

Two adults and four children in East Ham, east London, had to be treated for carbon monoxide poisoning, London Fire Brigade (LFB) said.

London Ambulance Service (LAS) was called on Wednesday at about 16:20 GMT.

Fire brigade head, Dave Brown, said it was the first incident of its kind he had seen in 28 years.

'Serious fire risk'

Mr Brown, head of operations, prevention and response, said: "I have never heard of anybody using a barbecue to dry clothes let alone using one indoors."

He branded the woman's behaviour "dangerous".

LFB said the elderly woman lit the barbecue in the garden of the home in Hockley Avenue and then placed it in the kitchen with the door open.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning

  • Headaches
  • Breathlessness
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Collapse
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Tiredness
  • Vomiting

Source: Health and Safety Executive

She left the house with her four grandchildren, aged between 10 months and four, and two daughters-in-law, aged 26 and 29, inside. Someone then closed the door.

LAS said it responded to reports of people collapsing and the patients were taken to Whipps Cross Hospital. They have since been released.

Mr Brown said: "Never, ever bring a lit or smouldering barbecue indoors.

"Not only is it a serious fire risk but it also emits carbon monoxide which is a poisonous gas that can kill or seriously injure."

Carbon monoxide is produced when fuels such as gas, oil, charcoal, coal and wood do not burn completely.

In April last year, a six-year-old girl died after inhaling carbon monoxide fumes from a barbecue her parents had brought into their tent to keep her warm at a campsite at Bransgore in the New Forest, Hampshire.

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