Northern Ireland

NI businesses closed in HSENI gas investigation

The Ice House Restaurant was closed on Wednesday.
Image caption The Ice House Restaurant was closed on Wednesday.

Two businesses in Northern Ireland have closed as part of the Health and Safety Executive investigations into gas safety concerns.

The Ice House Restaurant in Portstewart and the Village Caff, Rasharkin, closed on Wednesday while they are examined.

The HSENI's investigations are continuing after the deaths of two teenagers in Castlerock due to a suspected carbon monoxide leak.

Aaron Davidson and Neil McFerran, both 18, died in an apartment last Tuesday.

The owner of the Village Caff, Sean Peacock, said he wanted someone to take responsibility for his loss of trade.

"We don't know how long we are going to be closed for, we don't know what it is going to cost us to get set up again," he added.

On Wednesday in a statement, the HSENI said it has been working alongside gas safety companies to make safe a number of homes and premises in the Castlerock and Coleraine areas.

It said it had received almost 500 calls to its emergency helpline set up as part of the investigation.

Earlier on Wednesday, a gas fitter whose business is being investigatated over the deaths of the two teenagers expressed his sympathy to their families.

Calor Shop owner, George Brown, said he will co-operate with the authorities.

His shop in Coleraine was searched by police and the Health and Safety Executive (HSENI) investigating the suspected carbon monoxide leak.

The HSENI has advised anyone who has a gas appliance fitted by Mr Brown's business, the Calor Shop in Coleraine, to switch it off.

A solicitor released a statement on behalf of Mr Brown on Wednesday morning.

"Mr Brown would like to express his most sincere condolences to the Davidson and McFerran families following their tragic loss," the statement said.

"Mr Brown fully supports the investigation being carried out by the authorities.

"He will help and co-operate to the fullest possible extent, and in any way possible, in order to assist the investigation into this tragedy.

Image caption Neil McFerran and Aaron Davidson were due to get exam results in a few weeks

"He has been in constant contact with the authorities since the tragic events have occurred."

The Calor Shop run by Mr Brown is an entirely separate legal entity to Calor Gas (NI) Limited.

The premises was searched by the authorities on Tuesday night.

Aaron and Neil, from Newtownabbey outside Belfast, had been spending time at the apartment awaiting their exam results when they were overcome by poisonous fumes last week.

A third teenager, Matthew McGaw, also 18, survived the leak.

The HSENI found that a liquefied petroleum gas appliance inside a flat at Tunnel Brae Court had not been working properly.

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