Man escapes jail after apprentice dies in gas explosion

Bath Road

A gas supplier whose workshop fire escape was padlocked shut – resulting in the death of a teenage apprentice in a fire – has avoided going to jail.

Jarrad Swan died after becoming trapped in Steve Adams' workshop when an oxygen bottle he was trying to fill exploded.

The 18-year-old had his escape route blocked as a fire exit had been padlocked shut – and when a co-worker tried to open it the key snapped in the lock.

A health and safety investigation revealed that flammable items were stored in the area near the oxygen machine, which was not properly maintained.

Experts also identified training given to Mr Swan, who was an apprentice with Adams' company, was inadequate.

Adams, the 43-year-old owner of the Adams Gas company in Margate, escaped prison yesterday after a judge suspended his 8-month prison term for two years.

His firm was fined £150,000 and Adams was ordered to pay prosecution costs of £42,790.

The tragedy happened on June 24, 2014 and originally led to Adams being charged with manslaughter.

That charge was dropped and he was instead charged with four offences under the Health and Safety Act, which Adams pleaded guilty to.