It was the day after Christmas and Dominique Heath was tired of waiting for the toilet to clear up.
As Bristol Live reports, the mom-of-three from Nailsea, England was just trying to fix a clogged toilet. Heath thought one of her young children had dropped a toy down the toilet or used too much toilet paper. So she poured two bottles of a commercial drain opener called “One Shot” into the bowl and waited.
Hours later, nothing had improved. That’s when she decided to add something else in the hopes that it would speed things up. Heath told Bristol Live:
“I put the kids to bed at 8 p.m., ran a bath, then looked in the toilet and it was still blocked so I thought, ‘I’m not getting into the bath like this. I’ll put my three-liter tub of bleach down there, that should do it.'”
Soon after Heath had poured the jug of bleach into the clogged toilet, she realized she’d made a huge mistake. The drain cleaner still in the toilet mixed with the bleach and caused a chemical reaction that produced large amounts of chlorine gas.
Chlorine gas is a potentially lethal substance that was used in the trenches of World War I and is banned by the Geneva Convention. According to the Centers for Disease Control, it causes nausea, burning, blistering skin, fluid in the lungs, difficulty breathing, watery eyes, and coughing. High levels of exposure can lead to long-term health problems.
Heath told Bristol Live that the irritating effects of the chlorine gas were obvious from the start: “I have never experienced fumes like it. My throat and eyes feel burned.”
The mom quickly closed the bathroom door and tried opening windows, but the gas still seeped through the house. Eventually, she went to a neighbor for help and called the fire department. When firefighters realized how dangerous the situation was, they had the family evacuate.
So last night I done the dumbest thing I have ever done. I created chlorine gas trying to unblock a toilet costing the…
Firefighters helped ventilate the house and clean up the chemicals, but it wasn’t safe for the family to return home until 5 a.m. the next morning. Apologetic over having kept the neighbors up, Heath shared her story on Facebook, where she wrote:
So last night I done the dumbest thing I have ever done. I created chlorine gas trying to unblock a toilet costing the tax payers a lot of money. I have never experienced fumes like it.
In the comments, Heath said she had been tired and wasn’t thinking straight when she added the bleach to the toilet — though she had no idea that combining them could create a dangerous gas. Heath also admitted that she stayed in the house for a while before firefighters arrived, which wasn’t a good idea.
Though the situation was embarrassing for her, Heath shared her story because she doesn’t want anyone else to make the same mistake. As she told Bristol Live: “It was really serious. We are all okay, but it was the dumbest thing I have ever done — please don’t do this!”