Heating system investigated after home fire

MATT BOWEN
Last updated 05:00 21/05/2014
fire, heating systems
Mark Taylor/FairfaxNZ
SAFETY CONCERNS: Hamilton Fire safety officer Dave Jenkins inspects the heat transfer system in a Dinsdale, Hamilton, home after a ceiling fire last week.

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WorkSafe NZ is urgently seeking information from the manufacturer of a heat transfer system, concerned there may be pattern of product failure occurring.

The move comes after a ceiling fire caused extensive smoke damage to a family home in the Hamilton suburb of Dinsdale last week.

Fire safety investigator Dave Jenkins traced the source of ignition to the heat transfer system motor.

He said it looked like it caught fire and set alight the plastic-coated tubes that connected different rooms.

"[The motor] actually fell out of the ceiling and dropped into the hallway and by that stage the fire was going quite well," he said.

The mother-of-two said she switched on the heat transfer unit, which takes warm air from one room and deposits it into another via the ceiling cavity, to warm up her children's bedrooms for their return from school.

Firefighters arrived shortly before 10am last Thursday to find the house heavily smoke-logged.

Pukete station officer Dennis Holden said the fire had been well alight but it had choked itself of oxygen.

Now WorkSafe NZ has named Weiss in relation to the fire and two separate faults and they are investigating further incidents that may or may not be linked to the manufacturer.

WorkSafe NZ energy safety manager Mark Wogan said: "We are concerned that a pattern of failure may be occurring so we are urgently seeking information from the manufacturer and other parties, and further information from the Fire Service.

"We are investigating two incidents, and will be looking at the Dinsdale incident as well. The information we have at this point is that not all the apparent failures have involved a fire and none have resulted in significant property damage or personal injury."

Yet Wogan said the Fire Service has provided them with information suggesting there are further incidents beyond the three involving Weiss units.

Weiss Limited director Jean-ann Desmond said the information reached the company just as her husband, company director Christopher Mark Desmond, made a trip to China and he would deal with it in depth when he returned.

Weiss Limited was established in 1988 with a prime focus of manufacturing a range of air movement products, the company's website said, and Desmond was "absolutely" confident of their workmanship.

"Mark is working with the fire department and the Commerce Commission and I don't know any more than that," Jean-ann Desmond said.

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"Thankfully nobody got hurt."

Weiss stockists include Mitre 10, Placemakers and Plumbing World.

- Waikato Times

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