Car collectors killed by fumes while storing car for winter, inquest told

A classic car-collecting couple died after inhaling exhaust fumes as they were putting a vehicle into a protective plastic storage bubble, according to investigators assigned to the case.

William Reid, 67, was backing his Mercedes-Benz convertible into what was essentially a large plastic bag inside of his garage in High Seaton, U.K., in October 2017 for winter storage when he passed out behind the wheel, an inquest regarding the incident was told, SWNS reported.

The specific brand of storage system was not noted in the report, but various types are available and commonly used by collectors.

His partner, Kathryn Workman, 70, entered the bag to try to get him out, but had to retreat due to the effects of the carbon monoxide gas. She then called emergency services and, due to confusion about what was happening, was told to get as near to him as she could to help, so she went back inside the bag and was overcome by the gas.

After one response team was inadvertently canceled, paramedics arrived at the scene but initially had difficulty finding the garage, which was attached to the house next door. When they found the bag, they tore it open, but had to vent the area before they could go inside, where they were able to pull out Workman, still alive, but couldn’t immediately reach Reid without breathing equipment.

Reid was declared dead in the garage, the cause of death later determined to be carbon monoxide poisoning. The coroner reported that Workman suffered a cardiac arrest at the scene and died two days later from a hypoxic brain injury caused by the fumes.

"I'm satisfied she would have still tried to help Mr. Reid irrespective of the instructions of the call handler," the coroner said. "Mrs. Workman was aware she may become unconscious. My view is she would have still tried to help him and that's a credit to her dedication to their relationship,” the coroner added.