A MAN was poisoned by fatal carbon monoxide fumes from the stove that heated his narrowboat, an inquest heard.
And the family of Mark Allott, 36, said his death should lead to the compulsory fitting of carbon monoxide detection alarms to all boats and caravans.
Mr Allott, 36, a former Gawthorpe High School pupil, was found dead on his boat, Galeforce, on December 17 last year.
His vessel had been moored on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal at Salterforth Wharf, near Barnoldswick for three months.
Mark, a former Gawthorpe High School pupil and his best friend Tony Read, had bought and renovated the boat to live in.
Mr Read told an inquest in Burnley that he had not seen Mr Allott, who was better known as ‘Mallet’ to his friends, for the previous two days as he had been staying at a girlfriend’s home.
The pair had planned to go to a Christmas party in Burnley that night, but when Mr Read boarded the boat he found his friend dead.
He told the hearing that the stove was the only source of heating on the narrowboat and that on some occasions it had been used previously it had left him ‘feeling dizzy’, which at the time he put down to the heat.
Heating engineer Thomas Holdsworth was asked to test the solid fuel stove for emissions.
He said: “We tested the stove with an extremely sensitive gas analyser.
“When burning plain timber it had low emissions, but when treated wood, such as the chipboard Mr Allott used was burned then the levels went up.
“This got even higher when we tested with the front door of the appliance open, which was how it was found.”
Mr Holdsworth added that the main seals of the stove were missing, which would allow gases produced in the combustion to leak.
A pathologist’s report found carbon monoxide levels in Mr Allot’s blood were at 75 per cent.
Any reading above 50 per cent is likely to prove fatal.
As the lethal gas is colourless and odourless it was likely that he had fallen rapidly unconscious as levels built up inside the boat.
The cause of death was given as carbon monoxide poisoning.
Mr Allott’s mother Gillian, 66, of Holme Crescent, Trawden, described Mark, who worked at Furnico in Colne, as ‘a very popular, boisterous, bubbly, loud and lively lad, who is desperately missed by many’.
She said: “I would strongly urge everyone who has equipment like this to have it regularly serviced to check that everything’s in order.
“I believe it should be mandatory to have carbon monoxide alarms, which bleep like smoke detectors, fitted to boats and caravans.
“It’s such a simple thing to do and it would save lives.”
Recording a verdict of accidental death, Burnley coroner Richard Taylor said Mr Allott would have had no idea of what the effects would be when he used the stove.
He described the incident as ‘purely an accident’.