Slipshod work led to fatal blast

Boiler explosion

31.10.2008

A grandmother was killed after a decommissioned boiler exploded at her home in Twyning, Gloucestershire, an inquest has heard.

Christine Goodall, 65, was told the open fire in her housing association home was still safe to use when the appliance was put out of service in 1999.

The retired shop assistant died of multiple injuries when the cast iron boiler positioned behind the fireplace in her lounge burst and showered the room with shrapnel and burning logs.

Summing up evidence, Gloucestershire coroner Alan Crickmore said the back boiler was decommissioned by Matthew Lee in 1999, for a contract from Severn Vale housing, adding: "I'm satisfied the work Mr Lee carried out was not inspected by Severn Vale."

Severn Vale heating engineer Andrew Horton, who inspected the property after the explosion, told the inquest Severn Vale issued a specification list on how to decommission a back boiler. The specification recommended fitting a "venting valve".

In his statement of evidence Mr Lee, employed by M & T Plumbing at the time, said he did not fit a new valve.

The coroner continued: "Mr Lee carried out his work in a slipshod fashion and this coupled with Mr Lee's lack of understanding of the requirements led to Mrs Goodall being left in danger."

Copyright © PA Business 2008

David Urpeth from law firm Irwin Mitchell said: "This was a terrible accident that could and should have been avoided.

"I welcome the coroner's comments and criticisms.

"Those responsible for providing housing have a duty to ensure residents are safe. In addition any tradesmen working on someone's house again have a duty to leave the premises safe.

"I regularly help members of the public pursue claims following accident sustained through the negligence of councils and housing associations.

"I also help people claim against people who have been supplied defective goods or services."

If you have lost a loved one in an accident, our serious injury claims team could help you to claim compensation to help get the answers you deserve. Visit our Fatal Accident Claims page for more information.