Search

Firm guilty of safety breach after St John’s Wood families suffer carbon monoxide poisoning

12:00 08 December 2012

Apollo Property Services' contractors had covered over a chimney, the court heard

Apollo Property Services' contractors had covered over a chimney, the court heard

PA Wire/Press Association Images

A firm which hired bungling builders who left a boiler pumping deadly carbon monoxide into a flat during a botched renovation is facing an unlimited fine.

Contractors employed by Apollo Property Services covered over a chimney while replacing felt covering on the roof of a block of flats in the Abbey Estate off Abbey Road, St John’s Wood, the Old Bailey heard.

Two families had to be rushed to hospital following the blunder. They believed they were coming down with flu, but within hours two people had collapsed and others were experiencing severe symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.

The company, registered in Church Street, Waltham Abbey, Essex, denied failing to discharge a duty under the Health and Safety at Work Act to persons not in their employment, but were found guilty following a trial.

Judge John Bevan QC adjourned sentencing on Thursday until December 17 and asked to be provided with a breakdown of the company’s turnover, profits and directors’ salaries. Bosses may also be ordered to pay compensation to the two families.

Apollo was the principle contractor employed to refurbish the Camden Council-owned Exonbury low-rise block on March 17, 2008.

“In simple terms, they covered over where a chimney had been,” prosecutor Claire Harden told the court.

“It was live and it was used by a boiler present in one of the flats. When it was covered the boiler couldn’t work properly. There was nowhere for gases to escape, other than back into the flat.”

One of the residents woke at 1am with a severe headache, collapsing in the kitchen when she went to get some painkillers, the court heard. her husband and son were also affected, but managed to open a window allowing some of the fumes to escape.

Tony Leach, Apollo’s health and safety director, said: “We fully accept the decision of the jury and would like to take this opportunity to apologise unreservedly to the families affected by this incident.

“Safety is our number one priority and this was an isolated incident involving work carried out by a subcontractor operating outside of our approved methods.

“We have carried out a full review of all our procedures and training to ensure that all staff, and subcontractors, working on our schemes meet the high standards we expect.”

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

A Henrietta Barnett consultation has sparked debate on whether the famous grammar school should give priority to Hampstead Garden Suburb pupils

17:29

A Camden police officer has been sacked for dishonesty.

15:52

Emergency services have rescued a woman trapped under a Porsche after it crashed into a cafe in West End Lane in West Hampstead.

Yesterday, 18:06

Virginia McKenna, actress and founder of the Born Free wildlife charity, is the latest to sign a 4,500-strong petition to create a haven for swans on the island on Hampstead Heath’s model boating pond.

Yesterday, 15:13

Camden Council’s leader has said the prime minister’s commitment to removing the UK from the EU’s single market is “deeply concerning” – and pledged to push for the “greatest possible access”.

Yesterday, 12:48

A plan to resurrect the Old White Bear pub in Hampstead by sharing its upper floors with a school has been given the go-ahead.

Yesterday, 11:47

Work will begin to replace gas mains in Gospel Oak after a public outcry forced its delay last year.

Yesterday, 11:16

A man died after being hit by a train in King’s Cross station yesterday.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

Competitions

Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

Who wouldn’t love the chance to go on a shopping spree. Imagine being able to walk into a shop and choose whatever your heart desires without having to worry about how much it costs.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now