RCMP issue warning following Kelowna man's apparent carbon monoxide poisoning death

Police in Kelowna, B.C., say a man died inside his home after a suspected carbon monoxide poisoning on Tuesday Dec. 21, 2021. (CBC - image credit)
Police in Kelowna, B.C., say a man died inside his home after a suspected carbon monoxide poisoning on Tuesday Dec. 21, 2021. (CBC - image credit)

RCMP in Kelowna are reminding people about safety from carbon monoxide following the death of a man who police say was running a propane stove inside his home.

On Tuesday, police went to the victim's home on Lougheed Road where he was living in a trailer.

Inside, officers found the 63-year-old man dead, with a propane stove still burning. Police said it appeared as though the man might have been using it to keep warm when the CO gas overwhelmed him.

The investigation into the cause of death is still underway, but early indications point to carbon monoxide poisoning as a result of burning propane in a small, enclosed space.

Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odourless, colourless gas created when fuels such as gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, propane, oil, and methane burn incompletely. The use of these fuels for heating and cooking equipment can be sources of the deadly gas.

The BC Coroners Service is conducting its own investigation into the circumstances surrounding his death.

Meantime, police say they are working with the city to check in on people who may be more vulnerable to the cold.

"With the cold weather in effect and extreme cold anticipated in the coming days, the Kelowna RCMP is working closely with the city to support the community in conducting wellness checks of the homeless," said Kelowna RCMP Insp. Adam MacIntosh.

RCMP say their thoughts are with the man's family during this difficult time, and are warning others about the risks of using propane heaters in cottages, recreational vehicles, and tents.

Tips to stay safe:
  • Install smoke and CO alarms in a central location outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home.
  • Test CO alarms at least once a month and replace units according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Move to fresh air outdoors or by an open window or door if the CO alarm sounds.
  • Call 911 from outside and stay there until it is safe to re-enter the home.
  • Move your vehicle from the garage immediately after starting it.
  • During and after a snowstorm, make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove, and fireplace are clear of snow build-up.
  • Use a generator in a well-ventilated location outdoors away from windows, doors and vent openings.
  • Use gas or charcoal grills strictly outside.

The Kelowna Fire Department also suggests keeping natural gas or propane appliances in your home maintained regularly by a licensed contractor to reduce the risk of CO exposure.