Victorian Coroner recommends banning open-flue gas heaters

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The Victorian Coroner held a directions hearing yesterday following the death of Sonia Sofianopoulos in July 2017. Coroner Hawkins found Mrs Sofianopoulos died as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning and that the source of the carbon monoxide was most likely a faulty 25-year-old Vulcan Heritage gas space heater Series 48.

Key in the recommendations is the development and implementation of a strategy and plan to phase out all Open Flued Gas (OFG) heaters.

Earlier media reports indicated this would include 33 models of open-flue gas heater. Brands affected include Rinnai, Regency, Coonara and Braemar. It is estimated there are hundreds of thousands of open-flue gas heaters in Australian homes.

Also included in the recommendations are consideration of mandatory continuous professional development training for Type A Gas Appliance plumbers and fitters as a condition of being registered or licensed, education on the needs for regular servicing, guidance on carbon monoxide alarms and proposed changes to Australian Standards AS4575 and AS5601.

The written findings when published will be available online at http://www.coronerscourt.vic.gov.au/home/coroners+written+findings/