Sharjah: A 29-year-old Ethiopian housemaid is in critical condition after inhaling poisonous smoke from burning charcoal while sleeping in her room at her sponsor’s villa in Al Seyouh 3 area of Sharjah, a Sharjah Police official said.
The woman, identified as J.T, inhaled the gas from charcoal that was burning in a metal bowl which she had brought to her room to keep herself warm last Friday.
Police said the villa’s owner informed the authorities about the incident when they found the housemaid lying unconscious in her room.
National Ambulance paramedics who rushed to the spot tried to provide first aid but the woman would not respond. She was subsequently transferred to hospital.
The sponsor told Gulf News that the burning coal in the bowl had been used to grill meat and chicken for a family gathering.
Later that evening, the family asked the housemaid to put out the coal fire and go to sleep. As it turned out, the he housemaid did not do so, and instead took the bowl to her room to stay warm.
The next morning, when the family realised that the housemaid had not come into the kitchen to prepare breakfast, they suspected that she must have been tired and slept in. But when they went to check on her in the room outside the main villa where she stayed, they found the door locked and there was no response. One of the family members then broke the window and found the housemaid motionless with her mouth foaming. The family also found the coal bowl in the room.
The housemaid had been working with the family for two years. The sponsor said her family in Ethopia had been informed about her condition.
Accoridng to sources, the housemaid is in coma and has been put on an artificial respiratory machine.
Sharjah Police have urged residents to educate domestic workers about the dangers of burning coal inside closed rooms.
“We notice that some security guards in deserted areas use coal in a bowl to stay warm inside locked rooms, but they don’t know that they can be killed. Owners and sponsors should educate them about the dangers,” police said.
The case is with Al Seyouh Police Station.
Burning charcoal and CO poisoning: What you need to know
Carbon monoxide is produced when fuels such coal and wood do not burn fully. There is a build-up of carbon dioxide in the air, following which the fuel is prevented from burning fully. Then it starts to release carbon monoxide, a colourless gas and odourless gas that can prove fatal.
Burning charcoal in an indoor space is dangerous because of this possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Initial symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headache, dizziness, fatiqgue, vomiting, disoirientation, shortness of breath. These can eventually lead to loss of consciousness and even death in cases of extreme poisoning.