WorkSafe New Zealand has completed an important part of its ongoing investigation into the Northwood gas explosion and has given residents in the area an assurance that they can continue to use reticulated gas safely.
Several people were hospitalised on July 19 after a house exploded in Christchurch, leaving the building completely destroyed. It’s believed that a further 17 properties were impacted by debris.
But now, officials investigating the gas explosion say the area’s reticulated gas supply did not cause the blast, and that the public could continue to use gas safely.
In a statement, WorkSafe manager of energy safety Mark Wogan said there was “no issue with gas reticulation in the area that led to the explosion.”
“We now know that there was no issue with gas reticulation in the area that led to the explosion,” “It is not our usual practice to provide investigation updates, but we are doing so in this case because WorkSafe is very aware of community concerns about this explosion.”
“We are continuing our investigation alongside Fire and Emergency New Zealand and Police and if, during that process, we identify any issue that we believe the public needs to know, we will make that information available.”
WorkSafe NZ general advice for gas
- Ensure any gas fitting is carried out by a licensed gasfitter and ask to see their practicing license ID card
Whether you are having a gas heater, fireplace, water heating, oven, cooktop or heating system installed or serviced, you must always hire a licensed gasfitter. The experts will make sure it is connected correctly, flued and vented, working properly, and most importantly safe to use.
- Get your gas appliances regularly serviced
If you own or use a gas appliance, make sure you’re clear about who’s responsible for maintaining it. Follow the manufacturer’s advice on service requirements or be sure to get appliances checked yearly.
- Gas appliances must be properly ventilated
Gas appliances need fresh air to operate safely and efficiently. Only use unflued appliances in areas that are well ventilated.
- Get your LPG cabinet heater and cylinder checked every year by a licensed gasfitter
If gas heaters are faulty or poorly maintained, or don’t get enough air to operate, they won’t burn the gas properly. In extreme cases that means they will emit toxic carbon monoxide and other gases. Carbon monoxide can be lethal and it can’t be seen and has no smell.
- Check before you dig
Make sure you check for any underground gas, power, telephone or water services before you dig
WorkSafe NZ also said it was important to look out for danger signs, including the smell of gas, and flames that burn yellow instead of blue.