Lovell inquest to begin

Apr 28th, 2011 | By | Category: Investigations - fire, Latest News, On Fire
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The Hamilton coroner will hold an inquest into the death of fireman Derek Lovell who died in the Icepak Coolstore explosion at Tamahere three years ago.

Senior Station Officer Lovell died and seven other officers were seriously injured when leaking gas ignited while they were investigating an automatic fire alarm at the coolstore on April 5, 2008.

Today, the coroner, Gordon Matenga, held a pre-inquest conference to hear from interested parties who wish to give evidence at the inquest.

Mr Matenga says he will use extensive reports commissioned by the Department of Labour and the Fire Service after the incident as part of his inquiry.

He said the police looked at laying criminal charges following the explosion but decided against it, leaving it to the Department of Labour to prosecute under the Health and Safety in Employment Act.

Lawyers representing the Labour Department, NZ Fire Service, the NZ Professional Firefighters Union, Icepak, and Mobile Refrigeration Services told Mr Matenga they could provide extensive reports as well as investigators and technical experts to give evidence in an inquest.

Representatives of the Institute of Refrigeration, Heating & Air Conditioning Engineers and the Institution of Professional Engineers also offered to provide technical support to the coroner.

Tamahere resident Philippa Stevenson outlined a range of issues she believed should be considered in the inquest. Her involvement in the proceedings was questioned by Icepak lawyer Murray Branch who asked Mr Matenga to bar her from participation. The Coroner is considering the request.

A date for the inquest, possibly in July, could be set next week.

Click here for earlier story.

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