Calor Gas has again warned about the dangers of tampering with gas cylinders by people seeking to turn the cylinders into wood-burning stoves, barbecues or similar.
This warning follows the death of a man last weekend, when an empty
oil drum he was apparently trying to turn into a barbecue exploded at a
house in Oxfordshire.
It is believed the 48 year-old was fatally injured when the angle grinder he was using ignited fumes in the 40-gallon drum.
Calor is aware of a number of websites giving instructions on how to
transform or deconstruct LPG cylinders, and has warned that it will take
legal action against persistent offenders. However, in spite of
repeated warnings, members of public are still posting messages on the
internet advising other users about how to purge cylinders of gas. This
is extremely dangerous.
Paul Blacklock, head of strategy and corporate affairs, warned:
"Although in this case it was an oil barrel, and not an LPG cylinder
that exploded, it is alarming to see a rise in untrained people engaging
in this type of activity, particularly during periods of improved
weather. Advice on how to create wood-burning stoves or barbecues is
widespread on the internet. This is not only dangerous, but unlawful.
"Subsequently, we will be pursuing legal action against these
websites and anyone who is found to be unlawfully tampering with Calor
Calor cylinders are used widely, whether at home, for leisure or at
work, and the company says its safety record is exemplary. LPG cylinders
are safe when used correctly, following the accompanying safety
instructions. But LPG is a highly flammable material. If a welding torch
or power cutter is used on an LPG cylinder, even if it appears to be
empty, it can explode violently.
As well as the safety implications of a potential gas explosion,
tampering with LPG cylinders or attempting to change their use is an
unlawful offence and could lead to a claim for damages or criminal
Earlier this year, the boss of a St Helens gas supply firm was fined
£22,500 for causing multiple burns to both himself and one of his
employees by attempting to remove a valve from an LPG cylinder. The
Health & Safety Executive (HSE) inspector commented: "In this case,
the fact that no-one was killed was simply down to luck."
Irresponsible websites and publications encourage users to put their
lives at risk, through step-by-step guides, and even videos,
demonstrating how to de-construct or convert a cylinder. They have been
repeatedly asked by Calor to remove their directions but many have not
All Calor’s cylinders are the property of Calor Gas and are supplied
to customers under a refill agreement which contains important safety
information. Calor’s ownership of the cylinders is further emphasised in
that they are embossed with the word ‘CALOR’ on the metal casing and
are stencilled with the words ‘Extremely Flammable, Property of and only
to be filled by Calor Gas Ltd, Warwick.’