Five members of a family found deadThe family could have died of carbon monoxide poisoning caused by burning charcoal inside the house, police say.
Five members of a family were found dead in their house in Konjyosom Rural Municipality-4, Nallu of Lalitpur district on Monday morning.
A 55-year-old woman, her 22-year-old daughter-in-law and her children—a nine-year-old boy and a five-year-old girl—were found dead while her two-day-old infant died during the course of treatment, according to Superintendent Siddhi Bikram Shah, spokesperson of Lalitpur Metropolitan Police Range.
According to Lalitpur Metropolitan Police Range, they were informed about the incident by ward chairman Tirtha Ghalan.
A team of police personnel from Konjyosom Area Police Office and Lalitpur Metropolitan Police Range along with a medical team were mobilised to the incident site.
“Four persons were found dead while the infant died during the course of treatment at Patan Hospital,” said Shah. “The woman’s 23-year-old son is the only survivor and is currently undergoing treatment at Patan Hospital.”
According to a preliminary investigation by the police, the family could have died of carbon monoxide poisoning caused by burning charcoal inside the house.
“We found burnt charcoal inside the house,” said Shah. “Further investigation into the case is underway.”
Monday’s episode is the latest among such incidents to have occurred this past winter.
In a similar incident, a 52-year-old man and his 45-year-old wife were found dead in a rented room at Shankarapur Municipality-3, Kathmandu on March 1. According to police, the victims died of suffocation after inhaling smoke from the fire they had built inside their room to keep warm.
Every year, especially during the winter season, dozens of deaths caused by suffocation are reported across the country. According to the data provided by Nepal Police, in the past three months alone, from December 16, 2021 to March 6, 2022, a total of 16 deaths caused by suffocation were reported across the country.
Despite the high number of deaths caused by carbon monoxide poisoning, the government has failed to raise awareness among the general public about the dangers of lighting a fire inside a room without ventilation.
Dr Sangita Kaushal Mishra, spokesperson for the Health Ministry, admits that the authorities need to do more to raise awareness among the public about the risks of building a fire in enclosed spaces.
“We issue notices every year through the National Health Education, Information and Communication Centre on how to stay warm and to avoid building fires in enclosed spaces in the winter season,” said Mishra. “But deaths caused by suffocation continue to occur every winter. We need to do more to raise awareness.”
According to Senior Superintendent Bishnu Kumar KC, who is also the spokesperson of Nepal Police, such incidents occur since most people are not aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning.
“In winter, people burn charcoal inside their room and close all ventilation to stay warm. This leads to death by carbon monoxide poisoning,” said KC.
Burning coal or briquettes in an enclosed space enables the concentration of carbon monoxide, a gas released during incomplete combustion, which leads to suffocation in those breathing in the fumes.