Recall Of Carbon Monoxide Detectors From A Midlands Firm

A Midland firm was last night at the centre of a ‘silent killer’ safety alert.

Jo-El Electric Ltd, of Telford, Shropshire, has ordered the recall of nearly 10,000 carbon monoxide detectors.

The devices, sold in supermarkets and DIY stores for about £15, are supposed to warn families of the presence of the potentially-deadly gas.

But the firm, which describes itself as one of the major suppliers of electrical equipment in the UK, says: “The device may not alarm in the presence of concentrations of carbon monoxide.”

Carbon monoxide (CO) is given off by faulty and poorly-maintained gas boilers, fires and other appliances.

It is called the silent killer because it has no smell or taste and just creeps up on victims. Up to 30 deaths a year are recorded in the UK from CO poisoning.

Jo-El Electric has launched a product safety recall notice campaign and has urged purchasers to remove affected detectors and return them to where they were purchased for a full refund.

Last night, a safety expert said: “It is obviously a serious situation because not everyone will read the recall notice and will believe they are protected from any CO leaks which may occur, when they are not.

“It is very disturbing that the fault is that the device will not perform the one and only task for which it is manufactured and sold.”

One of the most tragic recent cases of CO poisoning occurred on the Greek island of Corfu in October 2006.

Six year-old Robert Shepherd and his sister, Christianne, seven, died in their holiday apartment.

Their father, Neil, 38, and his partner, Ruth Beatson, 28, of West Yorkshire, were also overcome by the fumes but were rescued, unconscious and close to death.

The problem was traced to a poorly-maintained boiler in the flat next door.

The family was on a half-term holiday when the accident happened at the four-star Louis Corcyra Beach Hotel.

Ten years ago, two women died and six other people were taken to hospital after being overcome by CO fumes at the Crown Inn in the village of Wentnor, near Craven Arms, Shropshire.

The party had been staying at the pub for a reunion.

Last night, Roger Vincent, of the Birmingham-based Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) said: “Between 20 and 30 deaths a year are associated with faulty gas appliances.

“CO is known as the silent killer because it cannot be seen, smelt or tasted.

“CO detectors are a secondary line of defence. The most important safety precaution is to ensure that all gas systems are regularly inspected and maintained.”

Jo-El Electric said the recall applied only to product number 822611 – model COA-001.

The company said: “We apologise for any inconvenience. The primary object of this recall is safety.

“Fewer than 10,000 detectors have been recalled although only a handful may be defective.

“No deaths or injuries have been reported as a result of this defect which was brought to our attention by trading standards.”


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