Couple 'minutes from death' after faulty oven pours out toxic gas

A woman lost her sight, struggled to walk and was told she could have died because of a carbon monoxide leak in her kitchen.

Kirsty Payne felt extremely nauseous, had a ‘thumping headache’ and saw black spots within minutes of turning her heat storage stove and cooker up after returning from holiday last year. 

Luckily, she had a carbon monoxide alarm which went off in her home in Marsden Massey, Cotswolds, and she was able to call out to her husband Andy who was showering upstairs.

They both ran outside and were later told by a gas engineer that Kirsty would have passed out if she had stayed inside for a few seconds longer and would probably not have survived if she had breathed in the poisoned air for just 20 minutes. 

‘As soon as I got the kitchen’s doorway I felt extremely ill and my legs had gone to jelly and I knew I was about to collapse,’ Kirsty told

She said she would not have known it was carbon monoxide poisoning or may not even have had an alarm were it not for a tragic incident in the past. The Payne’s neighbours also had a faulty boiler which led to the death of their daughter, Katie Haines.

‘I only knew it was carbon monoxide because of what happened to Katie. I think if the alarm hadn’t have gone off and I hadn’t realised the symptoms I was having I would have passed out,’ she said.

Kirsty and Andy has just come back from holiday when Kirsty turned their AGA up to heat up the house while Andy went upstairs to shower. 

After sprinting outside and turning the gas main off, Kirsty said: ‘I had to sit down. I was absolutely shaking.

‘My body felt awful. I couldn’t really see properly and I just had this pounding heart and this thumping head.’ 

An engineer arrived, recorded that the gas levels were very high and said the AGA had a blocked flue which meant the carbon monoxide could not escape and had backed up. 

Kirsty and Andy did not go back into the house for about four hours while they waited at a neighbour’s home so it could be ventilated and for the gas to dissipate. 

She said: ‘To be honest I felt ill for quite a long time afterwards. For about 24 hours I was still feeling nauseous with a thumping headache and I was shaking.

‘So it took a while for me to feel back to normal.’

One in every five homes contain a dangerous appliance and only 9% of people feel confident about spotting the signs of an unsafe gas appliance, according to Gas Safe Register’s research for the tenth Gas Safety Week. 

Kirsty said she thinks everyone should be more aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning and get their appliances serviced regularly. 

She said: ‘It takes something like Katie’s death to happen and it has had a ripple effect throughout everybody that knows that family.

‘I’ve passed the information on, I’ve brought a couple of carbon monoxide alarms for friends and family as birthday presents. It’s not very sexy. 

‘And I’m also very careful when I go on holiday I take the alarm with us as well. But it’s one of those things where you don’t really think about it until it might be too late.’

Gas Safe Register’s six simple steps to help neighbourhoods stay Better Gas Safe Than Sorry are:

Gas Safe Register has a short film called The Ripple about the effects of unsafe gas appliances.

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