Gas: alarm in empty flat spreads discomfort

2010-10-16 00:00

TWO Northdale women say they narrowly escaped death after a gas alarm in their apartment complex in Ramphal Street, Northdale, went off and caused gas to spread through flats on Monday.

The alarm went off in a vacant flat that is owned by Absa and managed by Kepapele Midlands Investment.

The residents said the alarm was installed on Saturday, and something triggered it on Monday morning, causing it to spread gas in the next door flat and the flat beneath.

A source, who did not want to be named said if it weren’t for her son, she could have died, as she woke up to a stench of gas and her eyes stinging. “My son had to drag me outside and leave me in my car because I was struggling.”

She said she had to stay at a friend’s house the whole day and when she got back in the afternoon, she could still smell gas. “Even now, my eyes are still stinging.”

She said the situation was aggravated by the people responsible for the flat, who told her not to worry when she reported it to them. “They said the gas was not life threatening and hence they would not remove it as it will disappear from the air in a few days.”

She said: “I am contemplating legal action against whoever is responsible because I was nearly killed.”

Another resident, Rookay Yusuf, who lives directly beneath the flat with the gas alarm, said on Monday she and her daughter woke up coughing uncontrollably.

“My daughter has asthma and I have a neck problem that is aggravated under uncomfortable situations, and right now we are coughing and I am in great pain.”

She said she is planning legal action because this might just happen again, “and we would die without anybody knowing how”.

Kobus van Zyl of Kepapele Midlands Investment said they had been informed of the problem and will launch an investigation.

Brian Zuma, communications manager at the Msunduzi Municipality, said their environmental unit will also investigate. “At this point we do not know what kind of gas was being used, but the principle is that anything that can harm other people is forbidden.”

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