Joiner blows up homes with botched gas work

Grant Prior 10 years ago

A self-employed joiner has been sentenced to 300 hours of community service after a gas cooker he illegally installed exploded causing more than £580,000 worth of damage to four properties.

Two homeowners were also severley injured in the blast after Alex Irvine was hired by John and Emily Reid to cut out a kitchen worktop and install a new free-standing gas cooker in Kirklands, Renfrew on March 31 2009.

Irvine was not competent to do the work and was not registered with Gas Safe Register.

Paisley Sheriff Court heard that Irvine told the homeowners he was not qualified but that he could still do it for a £60 fee.

After removing the kitchen unit and worktop, Irvine cut a copper pipe to remove an old gas hob, cleaned the end of the cut piece and attached a flexible, rubber hose.

The other end of the hose was attached to the new cooker before it was pushed back against the wall.

But one night while Reid was investigating a mysterious noise from the oven he moved it away from the wall which caused a massive explosion when he is believed to have caught the ignition switch with his thumb.

Both he and his wife were injured as the gas ignited, suffering burns to their face, hands, arms and neck before fleeing the property.

Reid underwent a skin graft on his right hand and Mrs Reid’s eyebrows and eyelashes have still not grown back.

The explosion also caused extensive damage to their home and three other properties. Three of the houses were so badly damaged they had to be demolished and rebuilt.

An HSE investigation found the hose was trapped between the cooker, the floor and side unit so it could become kinked when it was pushed against the wall.

Tests revealed that the hose had split at a middle point in the bend of the hose where it had been trapped, on both the inner steel winding and the outer rubber sheath coating. This would have allowed unburnt gas to enter the property.

Irvine, 44, of Paisley, Renfrewshire, was sentenced to 300 hours of community service after pleading guilty to safety breaches.

After sentencing, HSE Inspector Russell Berry said: “In carrying out this work while not registered and competent to do so, Mr Irvine put those living in this property and those nearby at risk.

“Thankfully Mr and Mrs Reid escaped with their lives, but were badly injured and four properties seriously damaged as a result of the explosion which was a direct result of the unsafe condition that the gas cooker was left in.

“Any business or sole trader who carries out work on any domestic or commercial gas appliances without being on the Gas Safe Register is breaking the law and potentially putting lives at risk.”

Latest news

ISG wins £600m Hertfordshire Hollywood film studio job

Holywood studio Sunset awards pre-construction contract for 90-acre studio complex in Broxbourne
2 days ago

NAO calls for road programme cuts as costs soar

Public spending watchdog calls for roads programme review amid project delays and cost overruns
2 days ago

Kier hires Laing O’Rourke veteran for London office push

Gus Wright takes up new London regional director role in January
2 days ago

VolkerFitzpatrick lands starring role on £174m film studios

Contractor to start main works on Eastbrook Studios in Dagenham
2 days ago

Wates poaches Balfour director to lead North West operation

Sarah Cooke to lead Wates Construction in the North West
2 days ago

£3.4bn Sellafield infrastructure race delayed to New Year

Contest to start in January for four partners in infrastructure delivery shake-up
2 days ago

Rebuilt TBM launches into second HS2 tunnel drive

Balfour Beatty Vinci TBM Dorothy starts second Long Itchingwood HS2 drive
3 days ago

Materials lead times back to pre-pandemic levels

Pinch points around gas boilers to persist until mid-2023 because of shortages of semiconductors
3 days ago

Bond strength helps TClarke towards £500m turnover target

Building services giant predicting a record year in 2023
3 days ago

All-clear for £125m Guildford Debenhams redevelopment

Native Land's St. Mary’s Wharf will comprise 185 homes
3 days ago

Thompsons brings down historic Redcar blast furnace – video

Redcar demolition clears the way for new net zero future
3 days ago

Wolverhampton picks McLaughlin & Harvey for £50m learning campus

Main construction to start next spring on City Learning Quarter
3 days ago

Michelmersh buys offsite brick cladding and chimney maker

Pre-built brick products producer Fabspeed sold for over £6m
3 days ago

Pagabo acquires mental health monitoring business

Framework giant makes move after Moodbeam goes into liquidation
3 days ago

Green light for London timber office block

Construction to start next year on six-storey cross-laminated timber block
4 days ago

Government pushes ahead with £3bn building safety levy plan

Affordable homes projects and small schemes developed by SMEs will be exempted
4 days ago

Rejigged £340m Museum of London plan approved

McAlpine tipped to take £340m job for new museum at Smithfield market
4 days ago

Ex-construction minister joins cladding repair firm

Intelligent FS appoints Lord Richard Harrington after government contracts send turnover surging
4 days ago

Willmott Dixon limbers up for £18m Rainham sports centre

Work to start in April on New Splashes Sports Centre in Rainham
4 days ago

Plans in for BBC’s new home in Birmingham

Project will be one of the first net zero carbon in construction office buildings
4 days ago

McLaughlin & Harvey wins Lowestoft harbour design

Lowestoft Eastern Energy Facility is expected to cost around £25m to build
4 days ago

Van Elle first-half revenue hits record £81m

Piling specialist upgrades full-year profit forecast after strong first-half trading
5 days ago

Forterra plans fourth brick price hike in 12 months

New Year increase follows 16.5% jump in October
5 days ago

640-home plan lodged for £250m Trafford scheme

Developer Glenbrook aims to start work by next summer on Lumina Village
5 days ago

Kier construction boss Liam Cummins to leave next month

Stuart Togwell to take over at Kier in New Year
5 days ago

Severfield profits jump as steel price hikes tempered

First-half pre-tax profit rises 29% to £10.2m as steel price rises successfully passed-on
5 days ago

Land deal reboots stalled Earls Court 4,500-home scheme

40-acre West London site could be redeveloped with 4,500 homes
5 days ago

Firms readied for £46m Norfolk bypass job

Work timetabled to start in 2024 on Long Stratton Bypass
5 days ago

2023 to be ‘Year of Catch-up’ for London office projects

Twenty-six schemes in demolition raising hopes of major project starts ramping up again
6 days ago

Galliford Try buys green water specialist

Latest deal boosts contractor's offering to the water sector
6 days ago

Contractor services