Last February a 22-year-old British expatriate was regrettably killed from a gas leak in her apartment in Chengdu. Ahead of the anniversary of her death, the deceased’s parents are urging expats to make use of carbon monoxide detectors.
Francesca Dingley passed away in her sleep on February 10, 2015 as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning from a faulty water boiler heater in her apartment. Dingley had only been living in her new flat for four days. She was on gap year, teaching English to Chinese students at Education First in Chengdu, reports the Bristol Post.
Here are the details from coroner Andrew Walker in North London:
Francesca died as a direct result of the leakage of carbon monoxide that resulted when combustion gases from a gas water heater that had been left running during the night escaped into the residence. A pipe carrying the combustion gasses was distorted and was larger than the hole cut into a glass window to vent the combustion gasses safely outside the residence. Had the size of the hole in the window been appropriate for the pipe carrying the gasses, they would have been vented safely outside the residence and however long the water heater had been running, no combustion gasses would have escaped into the residence.
Following the inquest, father Mr. Dingley, 57, displayed a carbon monoxide detector and encouraged their use by those visiting or living in China. “You can get them on Amazon for £8,” he advised.
According to him, the accident was long telegraphed by prior heating failures in the apartment:
The previous tenants knew there was a problem with the water boiler because they used to go next door to the gym to have a shower.
China should really step up to the plate here. If the authorities in China held people responsible, then landlords in China would make sure their appliances were working properly. Carbon monoxide poisoning is a common problem in China.
Wife Chrissy Dingley, 59, echoed the call for carbon monoxide detectors:
Everybody should have one.
If Francesca had been doing some gap year travelling and staying in dodgy hotels, we would’ve been more worried about her. The fact that she was working for a Western organisation lulled us into a false sense of security. Really, everyone should take personal responsibility.
A friend of mine, her son went to Croatia last year on a stag night. She knew what had happened to Francesca and got her son to take one with him – and it went off in the night. He was in the flat with ten of his mates. Things like that give us a little bit of comfort, because it makes you think that her death was not in vain.
Francesca’s then-roommate, Emily Flaherty, 27, survived but remains in a coma.
[Images via Dingley family]