Belfast Telegraph

Hundreds of gas fitter's customers told to switch off appliances now

By Emily Moulton and Anne Madden

An emergency helpline |number was jammed as more than 185 anxious callers rang today after a major public safety warning was issued to customers of a gas appliance fitter.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSENI) took the unusual step of issuing a statement urging anyone who has had work carried out either in their home or premises by George Brown of the Calor Shop in Coleraine to switch off all their gas appliances immediately and call an emergency helpline — 0800 0320 121.

George Brown has traded in the north coast area for many years and would have fitted or serviced a considerable number of gas appliances. Despite attempts, Mr Brown could not be contacted.

The major alert follows the deaths of two teenagers from carbon monoxide fumes in Castlerock, on the north Antrim coast last week.

A liquid petroleum gas appliance in the holiday flat where the two Newtownabbey teenagers died last week was defective, investigators found.

Aaron Davidson and Neil McFerran, both 18, died in a Tunnel Brae Court apartment last Tuesday following a suspected carbon monoxide leak.

HSENI said it was continuing |to carry out checks in other premises in Castlerock and Coleraine.

The fact that the executive has gone public with the name of the tradesman can be seen as an indication of the level of concern over liquid petroleum gas (LPG) appliances which were fitted by the company.

Sources close to the investigation last night indicated that a substantial number of customers had already come forward.

The HSENI statement said members of the team involved in the major investigation had identified the source of the gas leak and wanted to “minimise further risks” to prevent another tragedy from happening.

The Calor Shop is a separate legal entity to gas suppliers Calor Gas (NI) Limited.

The Belfast Telegraph tried to contact Mr Brown last night without success.

The HSENI warning came just hours after Newtownabbey teenager Aaron Davidson was laid to rest.

In the statement, the HSENI said a gas appliance in the apartment was defective and as a result it would continue to carry out further checks on other premises in the Castlerock and Coleraine areas.

“As part of its ongoing major investigation, HSENI’s Gas Safety Team has established that an LPG appliance in the flat in Tunnel Brae Court in Castlerock was defective. HSENI is continuing to carry out checks in other premises in the Castlerock and Coleraine areas.

“In order to determine the level of risk that exists to public safety and to quickly minimise any further risks, HSENI is working with its industry stakeholders to contact LPG customers who may be affected.

“As an additional precaution, HSENI is advising that if you have had gas work carried out in your home or premises by George Brown, trading as George Brown of The Calor Shop in Coleraine, that you switch off all your gas appliances and contact HSENI’s emergency helpline number — 0800 0320 121.”

It also urged anyone who was displaying any of the following symptoms — headache, dizziness, nausea, breathlessness, collapse, loss of consciousness, to seek medical help immediately.

Belfast Telegraph


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