Warning of deadly risks from faulty gas cookers
UP to 3,000 families across the country are unaware that their lives are being put at risk by a faulty kitchen appliance.
Last night, the National Consumer Agency (NCA) launched an appeal to locate thousands of gas cookers that, if used incorrectly, release fatal levels of carbon monoxide.
The NCA led a large-scale nationwide recall last year to locate 7,500 faulty cookers sold here but there are still 3,000 of the potentially deadly devices unaccounted for.
Toxic fumes leaked from the gas cookers -- sold by Beko, Flavel, Leisure, and New World -- have already caused the deaths of six people in Britain and Ireland.
"The manufacturers have made a number of attempts to date to trace these cookers. However, more than 3,000 remain untraced. We are again appealing to all consumers to check their cookers," said Ann Fitzgerald, chief executive of the NCA.
"The remaining cookers pose a serious threat, so we're urgently calling on consumers to check if their cooker is affected and to contact the manufacturer's helpline to arrange for the cooker to be made safe," she said.
Students could be especially vulnerable. The NCA is particularly worried that the entry-level cookers could have been bought to furnish student accommodation because of their cheap price.
"We would also call on landlords or letting agents, who may be renting their accommodation out to students, to check the cookers in their premises as many of the cookers involved may have been purchased by landlords for rented accommodation," said Ms Fitzgerald.
Operating the grill with the grill door closed in the faulty cookers can cause fatal levels of carbon monoxide to be produced.
The malfunction that causes the deadly leak is easily repaired and if people have the cookers in their homes the manufacturers will arrange to fix the problem, making the cooker completely safe to use.
Kathleen O'Sullivan from Bord Gais said that during the recall last year 100 customers who had the cookers in their homes came forward.
The cookers were connected to the natural gas pipe lines. She suspects that the remaining cookers in Ireland may be ones that use Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG).
"Any time people are worried that their cooker is not working correctly we urge them to stop using it and get it checked by a registered gas operator," she said.
The most recent Irish victims of suspected carbon monoxide poisoning were teenagers Aaron Davidson and Neil McFerron, who were found dead at the beginning of this month.
The boys, who were both aged 18, died as they slept in an apartment at Tunnel Brae Court in Derry. A friend was found unconscious but alive.