Leaking gas almost kills engineer

09 Nov 2011

Carbon monoxide nearly killed an engineer sent to check reports of a smell of gas in a city office block, a court has learned.

The deadly fumes nearly overcame John Courtney, 55, who went into Mount Stewart House in the centre of Cardiff to look at the problem last October. He ended up in hospital for treatment.

Firefighters sent to investigate said they measured carbon monoxide levels in the building and found them to be 16 times over the maximum safe limit.

At a court hearing about the case, city magistrates were told that the day before Mr Courtney was at the office block, October 21 2010, two plumbers had repaired an open-flue gas boiler.

Christopher Bates and Lewis Rees, partners of BR Greenwell Heating and Plumbing Services, fitted a new valve to control the gas supply. But investigating health and safety inspectors found that the valve had been wrongly adjusted, causing the boiler to emit too much carbon monoxide.

Mr Courtney, who worked for Wales and West Utilities, suffered the effects of the deadly fumes in the building's cellar area.

It was subsequently discovered that both Bates and Rees did not have appropriate credentials under the Accredited Certification Scheme which assures competency in working with gas boilers. The pair were however listed on the Gas Safe Register.

Cardiff Magistrates' Court fined the men a total of £5,000 and ordered them to pay £8,000 in prosecution costs.

Copyright Press Association 2011

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