Fire court case adjourned

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The Department of Labour has laid nine charges relating to the April 5 Tamahere coolstore explosion and fire.

The charges, laid in September, are against two companies and four individuals and have been laid under the Health and Safety in Employment Act.

At a Registrar’s hearing in the Hamilton District Court one company and three of its directors were granted name suppression, reported Radio NZ today.

A second company, Mobile Refrigeration Specialists and one of its employees, Warren Cook, didn’t seek name suppression.

None of the defendants entered pleas and the case has been adjourned until Friday, November 14.

Senior station officer Derek Lovell was killed when a huge explosion occurred at the Icepak coolstore as he and several other firefighters responded to a callout there on April 5.

Seven firefighters were left with injuries, including extreme burns, from the blast.

A Fire Service report on the incident said there was no smell of gas, or signs warning of flammable materials when firefighters attended, and as a result there was no warning of the danger they faced when entering the site.

A Labour Department investigation was undertaken to establish if there had been any breaches of the Health and Safety Act and whether or not a prosecution was justified.

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