The devastated parents of a newlywed who died from carbon monoxide poisoning have urged her friends to buy gas alarms in her memory to prevent further tragedy.
Katie Haines, 31, who lived in Barkham Road, died last Thursday following a carbon monoxide leak thought to be from a faulty boiler.
Mrs Haines’ husband Richard found her in the bath after returning home from work just before 8pm.
Mr Haines and his parents, Gordon and Jackie, who were also in the house at the time, all received medical attention at Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading for carbon monoxide poisoning and were later discharged.
Six neighbours were given medical treatment at the scene for the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Firefighters from Bracknell, Wokingham Road and Whitley Wood fire stations used fans to clear the gas from the home and isolated the gas supply to three homes, including Mr and Mrs Haines’ house, in Barkham Road.
Mrs Haines’ team-mates in Wokingham Netball Club honoured her with a one-minute silence on Saturday before fixtures.
Instead of holding a collection for a charity of the family’s choice in memory of Mrs Haines, her parents Avril and Gordon Samuel have asked netball club members to buy carbon monoxide alarms for their homes.
South Central Ambulance’s tactical advisor, Graham Few, said: “Carbon monoxide poisoning is uncommon, however we have responded to three cases in the last week.
“Although we are equipped to respond to these cases, we urge members of the public that these can be prevented by simple maintenance checks.”
The Wokingham Times was contacted by Lynn Griffiths, president and founder of CO-Awareness, a registered charity raising awareness of the “silent killer” carbon monoxide, after she read about Mrs Haines’ death on getwokingham.
Mrs Griffiths, from Liverpool, said: “Everyone needs to know about the dangers of CO [carbon monoxide] and how to protect themselves from this silent killer.
“The older generation, those with heart, lung problems and pregnant mothers, unborn babies and young children are all particularly vulnerable to CO dangers.”
Barkham Road from the corner of Oxford Road to Molly Millar’s Lane was blocked off as a precaution following the leak last Thursday.
Blue Odedra, who runs the Nisa store just doors away from the house, said: “The police told us to shut the shop at about half past eight but all we knew was there had been a gas leak.
“The people in the four houses in that row were sent to hospital with carbon monoxide poisoning and couldn’t go back until Friday.”
Mrs Haines, a press officer for University of Oxford, was a former journalist who had written for The Sunday Times and The Express among others.
A keen member of Wokingham Netball Club, she also wrote match reviews for The Wokingham Times’ sports pages under her maiden name, Katie Samuel.
She married husband Richard, who works at Hewlett Packard in Bracknell, in the Cotswolds in December and had only returned from her honeymoon in mid-January.
Her father said: “Katie was the most wonderful daughter imaginable.
“Tragically, Richard discovered her body after returning home from work on Thursday night and despite his attempts to resuscitate her she was pronounced dead later in hospital.
“My heart goes out to him for what he has been through.
“Katie was the perfect daughter who was as bright as she was beautiful.
“She never gave us a second of worry in her short life. She had a smile that absolutely lit up her face and was unforgettable to anyone who saw it.
“Katie had been with Richard for five years and was so excited about her wedding. They were the most perfect couple and absolutely adored each other.
“She looked so beautiful – like a Hollywood film star – in her wedding dress on the day and I will never forget her twirling around on the dance floor, radiant with happiness.
“Katie was so happy to be embarking on her life as Mrs Haines and was looking forward to having a family with Richard.”
Just last week, Stephen Reed, from Rosella Weddings in Cirencester, which made Mrs Haines’ wedding dress, received a thank-you letter from the bride.
Mr Reed contacted The Wokingham Times on Monday to say: “The card said: ‘Thank you for my totally amazing wedding dress. My husband loved it. I didn’t want to take it off. I’m sad I won’t get to wear it again. So many people said it was the nicest dress they had ever seen’.”
Mrs Haines leaves behind her husband Richard, parents Gordon and Avril, brother Adam and sister Lydia.
Mr Samuel added: “Katie was such a huge presence in all our lives and I don’t know how myself, her mother Avril and husband Richard will fill this void in our lives.
“This is every parent’s worst nightmare and we now ask that we be left alone to grieve at this very difficult time.”
Ruth Collier, head of the press and information office at the University of Oxford, said: “Katie was a wonderful person and a very talented colleague.
“I and my colleagues loved working with her, as did everyone around the university she came into contact with.
“Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with Katie’s husband, parents and siblings.”
CO Home Safety Ltd - Buy a Carbon Monoxide Alarm
CO Home Safety Ltd think that their should be a Carbon Monoxide Alarm in every home.
If you wish to purchase a Carbon Monoxide Alarm or Detector then visit http://www.co-awareness.com. CO Home Safety Ltd also work hard to raise awareness of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning and perform presentations to local resident's associations, charitable and voluntary groups.
(Show your support for Co-Awareness a registered charity raising awareness of the “silent killer” carbon monoxide by visiting http://www.covictim.org)