‘She was a sweetheart’: B.C. mom who died from carbon monoxide poisoning remembered

Sister raising funds to travel from Scotland to support family after tragedy

  • May. 20, 2019 9:00 a.m.

–– Kamloops This Week

Following the death of a Kamloops woman at a Shuswap campground on Saturday, an online fundraising campaign has been launched to help the sister of the deceased get to Canada from Scotland.

READ MORE: Mother dead, youth in critical condition after carbon monoxide poisoning in tent

The woman died and her daughter is in critical condition in hospital after the pair apparently succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning on Saturday while in their tent at the private Sandy Point Beach campground.

The sister’s campaign to raise $2,000 for travel costs can be found on gofundme.com.

The deceased woman is being remembered by friends in online posts.

“She was a sweetheart and such a loving mom to her babies.” reads one post, while another person added: “A fabulous woman with so much character and love.”

An RCMP release said Salmon Arm Mounties responded on Saturday at 10 a.m. to a report of two people in medical distress.

Upon arrival, police found the woman had died, while a group of people was performing first-aid on her daughter, who was then taken to hospital by air ambulance.

WATCH: Youth rushed to hospital after suspected CO poisoning at Sandy Point campground

“Through investigation, it was determined that the pair had been camping in a tent and gone to bed the night prior at approximately midnight,” the RCMP release stated. “In the tent, investigators located a cooking pot with wood ash in it that is believed to have been used as source of heat. Based on the evidence gathered, it appears that both tent occupants may have been overcome by carbon monoxide from the wood burning.”

The BC Coroners Service is investigating.

With the May long weekend typically being a popular weekend to camp, police are warning people not to use camp stoves inside poorly ventilated spaces.

Technical Safety B.C. warns people to “never operate portable fuel-burning devices such as camp stoves, barbecues or generators indoors or in closed spaces.”

Carbon monoxide, sometimes called the “invisible killer,” is colourless, odourless and tasteless, and can be fatal when inhaled.

Unlike many other toxins and poisons, carbon monoxide doesn’t immediately irritate a person’s body or cause pain, so there’s often no warning sign of its presence, according to a provincial awareness campaign.

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Initial symptoms can include dizziness, severe headaches, nausea, sleepiness, fatigue and disorientation.

Carbon monoxide inhibits the blood’s capacity to carry oxygen and at high levels or with prolonged exposure can also cause chest pain, poor vision and difficulty thinking. Too high a concentration can cause convulsions, coma and death.

At least 50 people in Canada die of carbon monoxide poisoning every year but there is no national database, Pierre Voisine, a director with the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs, said in 2017.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warn that fuel-burning equipment such as camping stoves, camping heaters, lanterns and charcoal grills should never be used inside a tent, camper or other enclosed shelter.

“Opening tent flaps, doors or windows is insufficient to prevent buildup of CO concentrations from these devices. When using fuel-burning devices outdoors, the exhaust should not vent into enclosed shelters,” according to a report.

— with files from Canadian Press


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