Decisive action prevents Altona North gas leak tragedy

Gas pipe with yellow tape
Quick thinking and decisive action from the Victorian Building Authority has averted a serious safety risk at a rental property in Melbourne’s west.

During a routine audit of plumbing work at a property in Altona North earlier this month, a VBA compliance auditor detected a strong smell of gas coming from an adjacent rental property.

Concerned about the occupants’ safety, the auditor attempted to alert anyone present at the property but found no one home. The auditor then turned off the gas meter and attached a safety tag providing contact details for a senior plumbing investigator at the VBA.

A licensed plumber later attended the rental property to test its gas line. A leak was detected at a ducted heater, forcing the plumber to disable the gas meter to ensure the property remained safe.

The VBA’s Executive Director of Operations, Mark Rossiter, said the incident was a timely reminder of the potential dangers posed by gas leaks.

“Natural gas has a distinctive smell,” said Mr Rossiter. “If you can smell it, there may be a leak nearby – and leaks should never be ignored. Always report gas leaks to your gas distributor immediately by contacting their faults and emergencies line.

“The recent incident in Altona North could have ended in tragedy. Fortunately, our VBA team member intervened quickly to address a potentially life-threatening situation,” Mr Rossiter said.