Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

Man at centre of gas deaths probe offers his sympathy

This is the tradesman at the centre of a major health and safety investigation following the gas leak tragedy that killed two teenagers.

Pictured recently during an open day at his Coleraine business, the Calor Shop, which has been searched by police and health and safety officials investigating the suspected carbon monoxide leak, is George Brown.

The father-of-two is said to be devastated by the deaths of 18 year-olds Aaron Davidson and Neil McFerran and yesterday publicly offered his sympathies to their families.

Just hours after he broke his silence, health and safety officials shut down another two premises where Mr Brown had carried out work. The Ice House bar and restaurant in Portstewart was forced to close as a precautionary measure yesterday, while a chip shop in Rasharkin also shut.

The Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland (HSENI) issued an alert earlier this week over work carried out by Mr Brown’s business.

Property owners were urged to turn off any liquid petroleum gas (LPG) appliances fitted by Mr Brown’s company.

By last night, 482 calls had been made to an emergency helpline in relation to carbon monoxide poisoning, the HSENI revealed.

The helpline will continue to operate from 8am until 12pm until at least Friday, August 13.

All domestic customers who for whom George Brown fixed appliances have been asked to turn off their gas appliances immediately as a precaution and are encouraged to ring the helpline.

In a statement issued through McCann & McCann Solicitors, Mr Brown said yesterday he will cooperate fully with the probe being carried out by the authorities.

“Mr Brown would like to express his most sincere condolences to the Davidson and McFerran families following their tragic loss. Mr Brown fully supports the investigation being carried out by the authorities.

“He will help and co-operate to the fullest possible extent and in any way possible in order to assist the investigation into this tragedy,” the statement said.

It added that Mr Brown has been in constant contact with the authorities since the deaths.

“He thanks all those friends and customers who have contacted him offering messages of support, but would ask that all thoughts and prayers be with the Davidson and Mc Ferran families at this time,” the statement said.

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