Deadly gas warning

Scene of a gas explosion at Limefield Scholes flats

Scene of a gas explosion at Limefield Scholes flats

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ONE in every 22 Wigan homes inspected for carbon monoxide poisoning has been deemed dangerous by safety experts.

An investigation by the Gas Safe Register has identified the region’s most lethal and safest areas in terms of boilers, cookers, heaters and fireplaces.

Whilst Wigan was ranked the eighth most dangerous town, with 14 of the 745 appliances investigated, (two per cent) found to be unsafe having been worked on by an unregistered engineer, the borough has seen 106 gas-related injuries between 2006 and 2011.

Earlier this year a man in his 50s suffered burns after a blast in a block of flats in Scholes and an elderly woman was rescued by firefighters after a gas leak in her home.

And in April, landlord Terence McBride of Sawyer Drive, Ashton, received a 150-hour unpaid work community order after he pleaded guilty to failing to arrange a safety check and falsifying a safety document for a property he rented in Bell Lane, Pemberton.

A National Grid engineer visited the property and sealed off the gas supply after finding a leak.

Gas Safe Register has now launched a new online map for the North West, which shows which areas are at risk from dangerous boilers, cookers and fireplaces, following their safety inspections over the last two years.

Over the last 12 months, there were three faulty appliances in the WN2 area, four in WN5 post codes, one in WN6, four in WN7 and two in WN8.

The map also reveals that within 10 miles of the WN area, a house was damaged by a gas cylinder burner stored behind the property, a gas fire exploded, causing a fire and 14 members of one family were poisoned after carbon monoxide escaped from a boiler. The website also advises what people can do to keep themselves safe from gas risks such as explosions, fires, leaks and carbon monoxide poisoning.

Paul Johnston, register chief executive, said: “There have been a number of high profile gas incidents in the North West over the last year, but people may still think dangerous appliances can’t affect them.

“However, for the first time, the map pinpoints the specific area you live in and will highlight whether gas boilers and radiators in your area are regularly found to be unsafe by our team. We hope that these findings will make the public realise how important it is to get them regularly checked.

“Poorly maintained and faulty gas equipment can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning, which can kill quickly, so it is vital that they are also safe to use. Homeowners should get their appliances safety checked and services once a year by a Gas Safe registered engineer.For those people renting, your landlord has a legal obligation to do this so make sure you get a copy of the Gas Safety Record.”

Department of Health research shows that around 4,000 people will present themselves at hospital with CO symptoms in a twelve-month period. In the last year, there have been more than 50 deaths as a result of CO poisoning, with 16 of those attributable to faulty gas boilers.

Symptoms include headaches, dizziness, nausea, breathlessness, collapse and loss of consciousness.

To find out more about Wigan’s gas safety, please visit www.silentkiller.co.uk