Rubina Magar, 21, and her nine-day-old daughter were found dead and her husband Rajendra Magar, 26, unconscious in their rented room in Lazimpat today.
Police, the house owner and locals had to smash the door open as there was no response of repeated knocks on the door and telephone calls. Investigators said Rubina and her newborn daughter were found dead and the husband unconscious. Rajendra has been admitted to TU Teaching Hospital, Maharajgunj.
The Magar family of Bajhang had gone to bed with charcoal burning on two makals (traditional clay fire pots) to keep the newborn warm last night. Police investigators said the mother and daughter could have died of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless and tasteless toxic gas. It is non-irritating in the beginning and very difficult to sense any potential danger for persons who are exposed to it. According to police, both the door and window of the room were closed and the charcoal was still burning. The bodies have been kept in the forensic department of TUTH for postmortem. An investigation has been launched, said police.
Dr Dirgha Singh Bam, a senior chest physician, said it was a regular phenomenon during the winter season and cautioned against going to bed in poorly ventilated rooms with heaters on. “If a heater is kept on for a long time in a poorly ventilated room, it may lead to hypoxia and a person may fall unconscious due to carbon monoxide,” he said.