Northern Gas Networks fined £5 million over fatal house explosion in Mirfield

gas explosion Mirfield
Elena Frunza died in a fire at her home in Mirfield. Credit: Health and Safety Executive

A gas company has been fined £5million over an explosion which killed an elderly woman at her home in Mirfield, West Yorkshire.

Elena Frunza, who was in her 70s, suffered critical injuries in a fire sparked by a blast at the property on Huddersfield Road on 11 February, 2019.

She was found when firefighters searched the property while it was still on fire and was taken to Pinderfields Hospital, but died the following morning.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the fire started after gas escaped from a broken six-inch cast-iron main running under the road to the front of the property.

The main did not appear on drawings held by Northern Gas Networks and had not been maintained.

The company pleaded guilty to breaches of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act.

It 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 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."