Northern Ireland

Ballycastle woman overcome by carbon monoxide fumes from fire

fire engine
Image caption The Fire Service says a Ballycastle woman overcome by carbon monoxide is 'lucky to be alive'

A County Antrim woman is "lucky to be alive" after being overcome by carbon monoxide fumes, the Fire and Rescue Service has said.

The 27-year-old was found unconscious by her friends at her home in Leyland Court, Ballycastle, at about 22:00 GMT on Monday.

It is thought a plastic bag was placed on an open fire, blocking the chimney.

The Fire Service said there were "fatally high" levels of carbon monoxide in the house.

Jim Murphy of the Fire Service said: "We believe that items had been placed on the open fire, including a carrier bag.

"I think the carrier bag has gone up the chimney and it's blocked the flue and it's caused a build-up of carbon monoxide in the room."

He said there had been a lot of smoke in the room earlier in the evening, but the woman and her friends thought the blockage had cleared.

The young woman then lay down on the sofa.

Mr Murphy added: "We monitor the premises with gas monitoring equipment and our readings were very, very high. They were fatally high.

"So this young lady, having laid down in this room for possibly up to two hours, breathing in carbon monoxide, is very, very fortunate to be alive."

The woman was taken to hospital suffering from the effects of breathing in smoke. She is now said to be in a stable condition.

Mr Murphy urged people not to put plastic bags onto open fires.

The Health and Safety Executive is running a campaign to raise awareness of the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning in Northern Ireland.