THE brother of a man who died in his canal boat alongside his dog fears carbon monoxide may have killed him.

Shaun Mason urged boaters to get a carbon monoxide alarm after the death of Ian “Spike” Mason 63.

Fire bosses warned about the risks on boats of the deadly gas in the wake of Mr Mason’s death in Banbury.

Mr Mason, was found on Thursday at about 1.30pm when neighbours on the Oxford Canal by Tramway Road, raised the alarm. His Staffordshire Bull Terrier Milly also died.

Dad-of-four Shaun Mason, 51, added: “He had more pleasure in the last five years than the previous 20 – he felt part of the community. It is a tribute to boaters – the community they have here is phenomenal.”

Neighbouring boaters Chris and Joy Wren raised the alarm when they saw Mr Mason slumped in his chair through a window.

Mr Wren said: “Those who knew Spike and Milly regarded them with great affection, “Spike was always ready with a cheery wave, smile and chat as people passed by and willing to give help when needed. Milly would always greet you too, ever hopeful that someone would play with her.”

Boater Wendy Cairns said: “He is going to be really missed. It was a great shock. He was a smashing guy.”

Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service watch manager John Callaway said: “Although the cause of this tragic incident has yet to be determined and is an ongoing investigation by the police, there are a number of appliances common to both boats and caravans, as well as houses, that have the ability to produce toxic fumes.”

He advised that all such equipment is professionally installed by a qualified technician and serviced regularly while smoke and carbon monoxide alarms were fitted and tested weekly.

“We also recommend that both smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are fitted and tested weekly.”

Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless, tasteless, poisonous gas produced by incomplete burning of carbon-based fuels like gas, oil, wood and coal. The Health and Safety Executive said about 11 people die each year from the gas.