Could a lick of paint have landed three Brighton people in hospital last night?

Posted On 15 Apr 2015 at 10:51 am

A building in New England Street was evacuated and three people sent to hospital for suspected carbon monoxide poisoning last night.

Picture by D Coetzee on Flickr

Picture by D Coetzee on Flickr

But after a thorough search by SGN (formerly Southern Gas Networks), no gas leak was found.

However, Brighton and Hove News understands that the house had just been painted, which could account for the inhabitants’ symptoms.

Crews from South East Coast Ambulance were called at 7.40pm and checked over patients believed to be suffering from the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning, including sore throats and light headedness.

“A spokesman said: “Three patients were taken to Royal Sussex County Hospital for further checks. I understand other patients were checked over at the scene and given advice should their condition worsen.”

Firefighters from Preston Circus also attended and evacuated the building at 9.15pm and using breathing apparatus ventilated the building to clear the poisonous gas.

The incident was left in the hands of SGN. Spokeswoman Chloe Boyce said: “”We were called by the emergency services to a property in New England Street, Brighton, last night, at 9.32pm. This followed concerns that two people had fallen ill with carbon monoxide symptoms.

“One of our First Call Operatives attended at 10.02pm. When we arrived, the building had already been evacuated by the emergency services.

“We checked the occupants’ boiler and cooker, and there were no signs of carbon monoxide leaking. We can confirm there was no gas escape at the property.

“As a precaution, we isolated the gas supply at the property for it to be checked by a Gas Safe registered engineer.

“We also checked neighbouring properties and there were no signs of carbon monoxide leaks there.

“For more information about carbon monoxide, visit”

  1. feline1 Reply

    Deadly stuff, CO! :-O

  2. feline1 Reply

    I don’t understand the change of headline – paint doesn’t give off CO, and neither does inhalation of paint fumes mimic CO poisoning. Unless you imply someone painted over an airvent for a boiler, obstructing it?

    • Stephanie Trotter, OBE Reply

      I agree that it seems unlikely that the paint itself could have given off enough fumes to make them feel so ill, let alone CO. Were these people tested for CO at the hospital? Even if they were and no abnormal levels were found, this could be due to delay between exposure and testing. Testing people alone means there is a real danger of a false negative. The only real way to find out if CO was present would have been to evacuate the house and test the emissions from the gas appliances (and any other carbon fuelled appliances e.g. woodburners) for CO and perhaps leave a datalogger to monitor the air for CO (to cover leaks of CO from next door e.g. through a joint chimney).
      It is also worth knowing that there are also other toxins in the products of combustion. See our website for deatils and heading ‘Other toxins’. These are not found by equipment designed to find CO.
      CO-Gas Safety is an independent registered charity that offers free and confidential help to victims and their families. We would love to hear from the people affected. My mobile is 07803 088688. If I don’t answer please leave a message and a phone number to call back.

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