Woman ‘can’t breathe’ without sleeping in wartime gas mask because of her new neighbor

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A woman told how she is forced to wear a gas mask to sleep because her small town is “like a gas chamber”.

Ukrainian-born Svetlana, who lives with husband Brian Cohen at home in Westport, New Zealand, suffered a horrific experience from a coal fire.

And it was started a year ago by their own neighbor.

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The engineer told the Stuff website: “‘Our little town is now like a gas chamber.

“Everywhere in town, when you are shopping or taking a walk, you breathe in toxic smoke.

“I can’t breathe, I’m coughing, my throat is burning and my chest hurts – I don’t live my life like this.

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His neighbor burns the fire every night, despite being asked not to

“I have to wear a gas mask as soon as our neighbor comes home from work and starts his fire.”

Having recently moved to the area, they failed to research any coal fire regulations – none of which exist in the area.

Therefore, their neighbor is allowed to light the fire, if he wishes.

And on the west coast of New Zealand, where they live, around 34.3% of homes are heated this way.

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Costing around £70 for a trailer, an average home will only need two trailers to heat a house in winter.



The couple only recently moved to the area but now regret it
The couple only recently moved to the area but now regret it

However, Brian Cohen told the neighbor about the damage the fire was doing to his wife’s health, but two days later the fires started again.

Violently, he said: “Two days later he lit his coal fire and I was really upset and I actually threatened to go and beat his head off, it just made me really mad. “

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The threat saw him receive a police warning.



Brian Cohen received a police warning after threatening the fire owner
Brian Cohen received a police warning after threatening the fire owner

He added: “As New Zealand residents, we have the right to breathe clean air.

“That’s what the Clean Air Act says.

“Why don’t we have the same rights as other parts of New Zealand? »

He had also been in contact with the local council, who cannot do anything as it is not illegal in this area to burn coal fires.

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