Three people who died in a rented apartment in HCMC might have suffered carbon monoxide poisoning from burning coal, police say.
Around 6 a.m. Wednesday, people living in a rented apartment complex in Hiep Binh Phuoc Ward of Thu Duc found all four members of a family unconscious.
Luong Van Kien, 45, his wife, 44, their daughter, 23 and son, 16 were natives of Ninh Thuan Province in central Vietnam who had been staying in HCMC for five years.
As the entire family usually got up early in the morning, with the couple selling goods at Tan Dinh Market in District 1, their neighbors sensed something was not right when their apartment remained close and no one answered the door.
After smashing the door, the neighbors reported the situation to local police and took all four to an emergency ward but Kien, his wife and son could not make it.
The daughter is still under treatment at the Cho Ray Hospital in District 5.
One of the neighbors, Nguyen Van Cuong, 61, said Kien and his wife earned a living by steaming fish at night and selling it at the Tan Dinh Market the next morning.
The couple used a charcoal stove to steam the fish and placed the stove right in front of their apartment, which is equipped with air conditioning, police said.
A preliminary investigation indicates they might have died of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.
The charcoal stove that Luong Van Kien and his wife used to steam fish is placed in front of their rented apartment in Thu Duc City, May 18, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Dinh Van
According to health experts, when heating or cooking in an enclosed space, oxygen will be gradually consumed. The combustion reaction in the absence of oxygen will form CO gas.
CO has no smell and color and is very difficult to detect. When someone inhales it, it quickly penetrates the blood and reduces oxygen levels, causing headaches, dizziness, nausea, chest pain and disorientation.
People who inhale large amounts of CO can pass out and die very quickly, especially pregnant women, young children, the elderly with chronic heart disease and lung disease.
It is said that around 40 percent of people with CO asphyxia will experience impacts like memory loss, decreased concentration, facial muscle paralysis, abnormal movement, difficulty walking, stiff limbs and tremors, hemiplegia.
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