Boys’ deaths prompt calls for further education

Boys’ deaths prompt calls for further education

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The death of two young brothers in a rental property in Central Victoria is a tragic reminder that increased education is needed in the industry, according to one award-wining director.

Last week an inquest took place into the deaths of eight year-old Chase and six year-old Tyler Robinson, who died in May 2010 of carbon monoxide poisoning from a leaking gas heater in their Shepparton home.

This tragedy has prompted Leah Calnan, director at Metro Property Management to comment that she believed more education was necessary for all the parties involved.

“This is a horrible tragedy and it is not a black and white case of pointing the finger and blaming one person,” she told Residential Property Manager.

“Property managers are crying out for continual training and this is an opportunity for the institutes and plumbing or building industries to liaise and perhaps create a public information campaign about the dangers of gas heaters.

“Many property managers would not be able to tell the difference between different coloured flames, and it is not in the job description to do so.”

According to the inquest, the landlord, Jeffery Watt, had received three maintenance reminders from the property manager about heaters, following routine inspections but he thought they were just 'generic'.

He also added that two other maintenance issues raised by the tenant were granted straight away.

"Anything that was asked to be done we had done," Mr Watt said.

According to reports coming from the inquest, Coroner Jacinta Heffey has concerns that more Victorian homes could contain the lethal combination of faulty gas heaters and poor ventilation.

The Australian reported that Ms Heffey would be closely examining these issues in the inquest, as well as who bore responsibility for maintaining the heater in the rental property.

“She said a fail-safe system that removed the potential for human error needed to be considered and flagged an investigation into the viability of installing fans into at-risk homes”, the newspaper wrote.

A four-day inquest into the boys' deaths began on March 18 in Shepparton.

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