22nd Feb, 2022 Read time 1 minute

Northern Gas Networks Ltd fined after woman is killed by gas explosion

Northern Gas Networks Ltd were sentenced on the 9th of February 2022 for safety breaches after a fire and gas explosion at a residential property resulted in the death of the homeowner.

On 11 February 2019, West Yorkshire Fire service were called to a property on fire in Huddersfield Road, Mirfield, West Yorkshire following a gas explosion.

The homeowner, Elena Frunza, was discovered during a search of the property, whilst it was still on fire. Elena Frunza was taken to Pinderfields General Hospital but sadly died from her injuries the following morning.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that the source of the gas leak was from a fractured six inch cast iron main running under the carriageway to the front of the property. The investigation uncovered that the main did not appear on Northern Gas Networks’ drawings and had therefore not been maintained in accordance with the Pipelines Safety Regulations 1996 and was subsequently in breach of Section 3 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974.

Northern Gas Networks Ltd of Thorpe Business Park, Colton, Leeds pleaded guilty and were fined £5 million and ordered to pay costs of £91,487.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Neil Casey said: “This incident, that put the lives of the elderly residents of a care home at risk and cost a homeowner her life, has highlighted a failure by Northern Gas Networks Limited to follow their own safety procedures, in this case requiring the prompt and effective investigation and correction of anomalies in their records. Other gas network operators should take the opportunity to learn from this tragic incident.”

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