A CORONER has sent out an urgent warning that more people could be at risk after the tragic death of a 10-year-old boy.
Roger Whittaker took the unusual step of an emergency resumption of a Huddersfield inquest into the death of Dominic Rodgers, after learning that thousands of other people throughout the town could be in danger.
Dominic lived in a back-to- back house in Spaines Road, Fartown, with his mother, Stacey. He died from carbon monoxide poisoning last month.
Mr Whittaker and the police have made it clear that landlords must make sure all their houses meet current legislation on the fitting of boilers - and immediately refit boilers which have not been put in properly and are potentially lethal.
Home owners must also take the same steps to avoid a tragedy.
Mr Whittaker revealed yesterday that Dominic's death was due to gas coming out of a flue into a passageway from a boiler at the house next door to where he lived.
Investigations are continuing to find out exactly what caused the gas build-up in the passageway between four back-to-back homes.
Health and Safety Executive officials and gas engineers are helping the inquiry.
Mr Whittaker said: "I have concerns about the safety of other people living in similar properties.
"There are many back-to- back houses in Huddersfield that have been fitted with gas central heating in a similar manner to the one fitted next door to where Dominic lived.
"I want to raise the issue to minimise the potential of similar fatalities happening."
His warning was echoed by Det Insp Steve Hepplestone, of Huddersfield CID, who gave evidence at the inquest.
He said Dominic's bedroom was small and both the door and window were closed.
He added: "It is clearly the gas boiler from next door which has caused the problem. We are still waiting for the results of detailed tests on it."
Det Insp Hepplestone said the boiler had sent gas into the passageway. The gas had turned to carbon monoxide and seeped into Dominic's bedroom, where it killed him.
Dominic was discovered dead in bed on the morning of Thursday, February 12.
His mother today urged people to follow the safety advice.
Stacey Rodgers said: "If out of all this tragedy comes the chance to save one more life, then it will be worthwhile.
"No-one should ever have to go through what we are going through.
"Dominic was my life. We were very happy in the house in Spaines Road and our landlord was brilliant, doing everything we asked.
"But at the end of the day, you put your child to bed thinking he is in the safest place in the world - and tragically it isn't," she added.
Det Insp Hepplestone said: "The trouble is that carbon monoxide is odourless.
"There are many back-to- back houses throughout Huddersfield with central heating vents in passageways.
"It is vital people in these homes get a qualified gas engineer to check vents are safe.
"Passageways are not authorised locations for flues of this sort, even if they were fitted 10 or 12 years ago. They should be fitted to an outside wall into the open air, where gases can safely dissipate."
The inquest was adjourned.
But Mr Whittaker said he may have to hold another special resumption in a couple of weeks if more information came to light.
He added: "It is vital that people are fully appraised of the potential dangers. I would hate there to be a further fatality.
A British Gas spokeswoman said: "People could ask any Corgi-registered plumber to check their central heating boiler and flue, or contact British Gas on 0845 9605040 to organise a British Gas service engineer to call.
"All landlords should have a gas safety inspection certificate for each property which is renewed every year when the central heating system has been checked by a qualified person and passed."
Det Insp Hepplestone said tenants should ask for a copy of this certificate.
Phone Corgi on 01256 372200.
Stephanie Trotter, of the charity CO-Gas Safety, said: "We consider any death or injury from carbon monoxide is unnecessary and avoidable, provided people know about the dangers and take all precautions.
"These include good ventil- ation, regular chimney and flue checking and sweeping, regular servicing by a qualified person and, as an extra safeguard, a carbon monoxide alarm with an audible warning to a British or European standard.
"Good alarms can be purchased from most DIY stores for about £20; not much to save a life.
"Although the Health and Safety Commission recommended a levy on gas suppliers to raise publicity for warnings to the public in August, 2000, there has been no implementation.
"Gas companies are talking about a voluntary levy, but talk is cheap."
For more safety information, the charity has a website www.co-gassafety.co.uk
The Department of Trade says more than 50 people die at home every year from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by faulty heating appliances.