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Contractor accused of filling home with deadly gas
Updated 11:16am Monday 11th February 2013 in News
A MUM has accused a builder of releasing deadly carbon monoxide fumes into her home while carrying out alterations to her boiler.
Faye Sweet, a childminder, blames Dean’s Home & Garden Maintenance for leaving her in Great Western Hospital for four days after she hired his firm to build a large playroom.
Mrs Sweet, 26, claims the firm’s owner, Dean Goucher, left the extension and an attached shed with leaky roofs – and botched an attempt to fit an external flue pipe to the boiler during the work.
The roof of the playroom collapsed under a downpour last month, while the shed has had to be covered with tarpaulin.
But Mrs Sweet and her husband James, who have an 18-month-old daughter, Lelia, believe an attempt to fix a plastic pipe to the boiler could have killed them.
The company, which is no longer trading, has not returned the £2,525 the couple paid and the couple estimate the remedial work will cost another £6,000.
Mrs Sweet, who is pregnant, said: “They left us exposed to carbon monoxide fumes in an enclosed space. The company who fixed it said if it hadn’t been summer we could have died – luckily we had windows and doors open.”
Mrs Sweet says that Mr Goucher, who carried out the work last June, arranged for a tradesman who he claimed was a registered gas fitter to look at the work.
The man suggested a minor alteration to the boiler and the pipe, which was meant to take the fumes out through the playroom.
But Mrs Sweet later called in the company who installed her boiler when they refurbished the house in Penhill Drive. She said: “They said the boiler was pumping out carbon monoxide and told me to get my family out while it was fixed. “I was in hospital the week before. The doctors didn’t have a clue what was wrong as carbon monoxide poisoning is difficult to diagnose. The best healer is oxygen. I came home and felt really bad, once we’d switched off the boiler and I went outside I felt better.”
Mrs Sweet says Mr Goucher told her afterwards a gas fitter he hired was responsible for the work but she claims he was the only worker in her house while the work was carried out.
Dean’s son Sam worked on Mrs Sweet’s house but has since broken off all contact with his father – who left Swindon six months ago – and has set up his own garden maintenance firm.
Sam said of his father: “He extended the flue, which he probably shouldn’t have done, but she didn’t get carbon monoxide poisoning, she’s exaggerating.”
He said his father was not a registered gas fitter but didn’t know he needed to be qualified to extend the flue, and the roof collapsed because another tradesman hired by Mrs Sweet stood on it.
Mrs Sweet has made complaints to Swindon Council’s trading standards department, who have informed the Health and Safety Executive, which is investigating.