The Australian woman (47) dies in the shower

The 47-year-old Australian dies in the shower after carbon monoxide entered her bathroom

  • South Australian woman died of carbon monoxide poisoning in January 2018
  • Heather Diane Pearce died in the farming property of the family southeast of Adelaide
  • Deadly gas was released from a dodgy boiler in a bathroom, research heard
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A South Australian woman died of carbon monoxide poisoning, the deadly gas released by a dodgy boiler in a bathroom, has heard an investigation.

In January last year, deputy coroner David Whittle started an investigation into the death of Heather Diane Pearce on her family's estate in Reedy Creek, southeast of Adelaide.

Mrs. Pearce had gone to the property with her husband and two sons to shear sheep.

A South Australian woman died of carbon monoxide poisoning, the deadly gas released by a dodgy boiler installed in a bathroom has heard an investigation (photo of file)

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A South Australian woman died of carbon monoxide poisoning, the deadly gas released by a dodgy boiler installed in a bathroom has heard an investigation (photo of file)

The 47-year-old was found unconscious on the floor of an improvised and freestanding bathroom, formed from a converted concrete tank, after taking a shower.

At first it was thought that she had medical problems, but an autopsy confirmed the cause of death.

Tests on the boiler subsequently discovered that it did not meet the requirements and should never have been installed in the bathroom, Ahura Kalali's assistant told the investigation on Wednesday.

It was so old that the brand and model were no longer manufactured.

Kalali also said that a metal plate had been placed on top of the heater, blocking exhaust gases and a rotating fan in the bathroom roof was jammed and would not run.

Senior gas inspector Ron Jessen told the coroner that the build-up of combustion gases would have been "almost immediate" due to the metal plate.

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He said that a 10-second test he had performed on the boiler yielded a carbon monoxide reading of 960 parts per million.

A normal reading would be between 40 and 150 parts per million.

Mr Jessen said that a second test had to be stopped because it exceeded the levels that his instruments could take.

"It certainly showed in a very short time that this heating became a CO (carbon monoxide) generator," he said.

"It should have been isolated and tagged as too dangerous to operate."

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Mr Kalali urged Mr Whittle to discover that the build-up of carbon monoxide was the cause of Mrs Pearce's death.

He also asked the substitute coroner to give a public warning about the dangers of improperly installed or non-compliant boilers, which he considered to be a "very real hazard".

Whittle will hand over his findings on a date to be determined.

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