Penzance family relive carbon monoxide nightmare in which doctors say they were “an hour from death

A PENZANCE mother of three has told how she was “an hour from death” after carbon monoxide – known as the ‘silent killer’ – struck at her home.

Charlotte Bone, her husband, James and daughter Katie were living in a Bolitho estate cottage at Newbridge when their carbon monoxide nightmare began.

Charlotte began to feel ill and visited the doctor, who gave her antibiotics, but her symptoms persisted.

Charlotte, 32, said: “I never take time off but I phoned in sick because I felt like I had the flu.”


But instead of feeling better both she and James, 37, felt worse, and their sickness came to a head in the early hours of the morning.

Charlotte, now mother to another two children, Jessica, 2, and William, 1, said: “I got up in the night and just collapsed on the floor. I said to James, ‘I think I’m dying’, and he said, ‘No, you’re all right’, and then I collapsed on the floor.

“It was the early hours of the morning. I managed to phone the doctors.

“I don’t even remember phoning the ambulance. The ambulance driver thought I’d taken an overdose.

“In hospital they measured the carbon monoxide in my blood and it registered 28. They said 30 and you’re dead. Any longer in the house and we would have died.”

Charlotte, James and little Katie, now 6, were taken to Treliske.

Charlotte said: “I was put on a special monitor. Then James and I were taken to Derriford in separate ambulances because they were afraid they’d run out of gas and air for us on the way.

“I can only remember bits of it, like being in the decompression chamber. I could hardly stand up. It was like being drunk.

“I was in a special room that they had to open specially for us. I did three sets of three hours in this decompression chamber. I’d just found out I was pregnant, although I lost that baby. I don’t know if it was connected.”

Now Charlotte, who lives with her family in Heamoor, is keen to tell her story to encourage others to be aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide.

Charlotte said: “It seems it’s all you’re hearing about at the moment. We didn’t have a gas or oil boiler. We always associated it with gas heating so never thought it was a risk.

“Now we reckon it was the wood-burner, although we never did find out.

“The estate came and put in an alarm and we put in another two ourselves.

“You always have a smoke alarm, but you never think of carbon monoxide.”

She said their brush with death had made the Bones more focused on enjoying their lives, but also on making others aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide.

Charlotte said: “I’m just glad we were all right. I think some people moan about this and that, but I very nearly died a couple of years ago.

“I’ve been that close to death, you’ve got to go and enjoy life – but I’d do anything if I thought it could encourage other people to be aware.

“These alarms cost £5 to £10 and they can save your life and you children’s lives.”

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