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Fumes hazard for families

Camden Council, north London, was fined pounds 44,000 after tenants were put at risk from poisonous fumes. It was prosecuted after gas flues to up to 200 fires in living rooms of flats were disconnected by workmen and gas installations were not inspected.

Clerkenwell Magistrates Court heard the council was let down by private contractors but it accepted responsibility. Kurt Coelho, of the Health and Safety Executive, said that sub-contractors disconnected vents connecting the flues without telling the council. These had not been re-connected when the work was finished. Mr Coelho said: "It could have led to carbon monoxide poisoning to anyone in the living room. If the tenant was not aware of the situation it could have caused death."