Two technical college (TEI) students, aged 21 and 22, died of carbon monoxide poisoning in their home in the central town of Larissa on Thursday evening after bringing a charcoal grill into the house for warmth, while another three were in a critical condition on Friday.
The students had set up the makeshift barbecue – made of a steel drum that had been cut in half – in the garden to cook some meat for dinner, before deciding to bring it into the house in the evening to warm the premises, police said.
A friend who visited the students’ home later on Thursday – after the students’ parents contacted her to express concern as their children had not been answering their cell phones – obtained the keys from the landlady after getting no response to her knocking. She found the five men passed out on the floor. Two died of CO poisoning, according to a local coroner, while the other three remained in critical condition last night. Two of them were in a coma and the third “semi-comatose,” doctors said.
State television on Friday quoted the landlady as saying that the students had told her recently that they had been unable to afford heating oil.
Larissa TEI on Friday suspended classes in a gesture of mourning for the tragedy while municipal staff reported receiving dozens of calls from people offering to help the bereaved families.
Larissa Mayor Constantinos Tzanakoulis referred to a “barrage of calls from members of our community shattered at what had happened.”