The house in Mirfield, West Yorkshire, which suffered a gas explosion and fire

NGN fined £5m over fatal gas explosion

Northern Gas Networks Ltd has been fined £5 million for safety breaches after a fire and gas explosion in West Yorkshire resulted in the death of a homeowner.

Leeds Crown Court heard that, on 11 February 2019, West Yorkshire Fire Service was called to a fire and explosion in Huddersfield Road, Mirfield. The property was still on fire when the occupier, Elena Frunza, was discovered during a search. She was taken to Pinderfields General Hospital, where she died the following morning.

The HSE investigation found that the source of the gas escape was a fractured six-inch cast-iron main running under the carriageway to the front of the property. The main did not appear on Northern Gas Networks’ drawings, which meant that it had not been maintained in accordance with the Pipelines Safety Regulations 1996.

Northern Gas Networks Ltd of Thorpe Business Park, Colton, Leeds, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £5 million and ordered to pay costs of £91,487.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Neil Casey said: “This incident, which 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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