Warning: High carbon monoxide fuels

Potentially fatal fumes detected at 'wood coal' incidents

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Published on 6 February 2024

Potentially fatal fumes detected at incidents

West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) is today (6 Feb 2024) issuing an urgent appeal to its communities following a number of callouts where extremely high carbon monoxide levels have been detected – posing a risk to residents and their neighbours.

So far in 2024, WMFS has attended six incidents at which very high levels of carbon monoxide were detected. It appears to have come from ‘wood charcoal’ fuels being burned indoors to fuel incense, shisha pipes or to light other fuels.

These have set off carbon monoxide alarms or caused illness, with levels of 600 parts per million (ppm) detected – high enough to be fatal.

WMFS has contacted the All-Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group to highlight its findings and which products appear to be the cause of the incidents.

An orange package of Abo Alabed wood coal

The products, including Abo Alabed wood coal, do not have relevant safety labels or warnings that they should not be burned inside.

They are available on major retailers’ websites, and possibly in small, local shops who may not be aware of the risks the products pose.

We would advise anyone using wood charcoal products:

check the safety labels of any products you use

do not burn these products in an unventilated environment

if you’re unsure about the safety of the product, do not use it

install carbon monoxide alarms in your home in the same room as any fuel-burning appliance.