A 13 year-old girl has died of suspected carbon monoxide poisoning in the Xirokrini district of the northern city of Thessaloniki.

According to reports the girl, a Serbian national, lived together with her mother, who is unemployed, in a home without electricity.

In order to keep warm in temperatures that dropped to the low single digits, with no other source of heating the pair lit an open brazier yesterday evening. Fumes from the brazier caused the mother to pass out at around 10pm. She regained consciousness at about 11pm at which point she found her daughter unconscious.

An ambulance was called but paramedics were unable to save the young girl. A coroner at the scene determined that inhalation of toxic fumes were the cause of her death.

It has been reported that the mother has been placed under arrest although it is unclear under what charges.

In recent years the number of Greek households who cannot afford power and / or heating has risen sharply due to high levels of unemployment and increased taxation on heating oil and electricity bills.

Cutbacks and the high cost of heating oil has also left many schools unable to afford heating, with local authorities recently closing schools in some northern districts in the face of freezing temperatures.