Dying to keep warm

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 17 January, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 17 January, 1999, 12:00am

AN 89-year-old man died of suffocation after using his cooking stove to keep warm early yesterday on the Shekkipmei Estate.

The victim's 79-year-old flatmate called police at 9.42am after finding him lying on his bed with the carbon stove turned on.

Doctors at the Caritas Medical Centre tried to revive the man but he was certified dead.

The two men shared a flat in block 42 of the estate. Police believe the victim used the carbon stove to keep himself warm and was killed by deprivation of oxygen as all the windows and doors of the flat were shut.

Ng Wai-tung, community organiser of the Society for Community Organisation, said many elderly people were living in similar potential death traps.

'They would rather spend money on food than on a heater,' Mr Ng said. 'And they may not know they're not supposed to leave the stove on without letting in fresh air.' The weather is expected to improve next week, with the mercury rising to 20 degrees Celsius by Wednesday.