Volume 50, Issue 4 (July 2005)
Suicide by Inhalation of Carbon Monoxide in a Residential Fire
Fire deaths are usually accidental, but atypical cases of homicide or suicide have been described. In suicide by fire, the only method reported by several authors consists of self-immolation. We present here the unusual case of an adult female who committed suicide by waiting in the living room after setting fire to her bedroom. The autopsy revealed smoke inhalation and the toxicological analysis revealed carboxyhemoglobin levels of 67%. Very few cases of suicide by fire not of the self-immolation type have been reported, and all have been anecdotal. A review of the literature is presented and a new term, “suicide by inhalation of carbon monoxide in a fire,” is proposed for such cases.