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Plumber fined $5,000 for activating a natural gas pool heater

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An Ottawa plumber has been fined $5,000 by the Ontario Court of Justice after a homeowner was burned when a natural-gas pool heater Payne activated exploded.

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According to a news release from the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) of Ontario, Jeffrey Payne completed the installation of plumbing connected to a natural-gas pool heater in September 2022.

The propane gas supply line had already been connected to the pool heater before Payne’s visit, the TSSA said in the release. Payne then turned on the gas supply line to the pool heater, the first time that the gas supply line and pool heater were activated.

Later in the day, after Payne had left the home, the homeowner turned the pool heater off and then on again.

Upon restarting the pool heater, an explosion occurred, and the homeowner sustained burns to his left hand, the TSSA said.

In court earlier this month, Payne pleaded guilty to one count of activating a natural-gas pool heater without a TSSA-issued gas technician certificate, an offense under the Technical Standards and Safety Act. In addition to the $5,000 fine, Payne was ordered to pay a 25 per cent victim surcharge.

“It is essential that homeowners hire only registered contractors for the installation, activation, service and inspection of all fuel-fired appliances,” said Sam Sadeghi, statutory director of TSSA’s fuels safety program. “Improper servicing of a natural-gas appliance could lead to explosions, carbon monoxide poisoning and other safety risks that can sicken, injure or even kill unsuspecting residents.”



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