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Couple killed by carbon monoxide poisoning

Friday 31 Jul 2009 6:12 p.m.

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By Emma Jolliff

Police say a Taumarunui couple found dead in their bed are likely to have died from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by using an outdoor patio gas heater that was inside the room.

They were found by their three young children.

Police say the deaths are not suspicious - just a tragedy and a warning for others.

The outdoor heater, which carried a warning, was found in the bedroom where the couple slept.

It is not the first time outdoor gas appliances have killed. Last year in Ruapuke, two men died in a cabin after they brought a charcoal barbecue into the hut for warmth.

Other cases include a Northland couple who died after leaving a gas cooker on in their caravan; three teenagers who died 12 years ago when they fell asleep in a car with a gas cooker on; and two Department of Conservation volunteers who used a gas cooker in their tent in the Chatham Islands.

The fire service says the heaters must not be used in confined spaces.

"This tragedy is a stark reminder to all New Zealanders that outdoor heating appliances should only be used outdoors and never indoors," says Alan Merry.

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