Gas-burning water heaters in poorly ventilated spaces have caused the death of three people in two separate incidents this week.
Two students from Chiayi University died in their rented apartment on Wednesday, apparently from carbon monoxide poisoning, two days after a Korean-Canadian tourist died in her room at a hostel in Taipei, reportedly from the same cause.
In Wednesday’s incident, three other Chiayi University students were hospitalized in the intensive care unit, although their lives were no longer in danger, the university said.
Police officers are looking into the cause of the poisoning.
Authorities are urging people to make sure their gas water heaters are installed in a well-ventilated space, as carbon monoxide poisoning is a hazard during winter, when people tend to keep their windows closed against the cold.
Without adequate ventilation, incomplete burning of the natural gas used to fuel typical water heaters can lead to lethal concentrations of carbon monoxide.
Tourist Yuh Yung-chung, 35, was staying in a room next to a balcony where a gas water heater was located, according to police. The windows on the enclosed balcony were shut when they should have been left open, police officers said.
In that incident, five other people, all female, were treated at a hospital for carbon monoxide poisoning and later discharged.