December 13, 2016
AUSTRALIA: A hydrocarbon refrigerant gas leak is being blamed for an explosion that killed two men working at a bar in northern Victoria in June 2014.
The inquest into the deaths of Barry Purtell (34) and Dave Lobb (52) opened on Monday in Bendigo. Mr Purtell suffered facial burns and internal injuries and died on the day of the incident. Mr Lobb died of his injuries two weeks later.
The pair were in the cellar of the Rochester Hotel when the blast occurred. The men, both smokers, were removing a refrigeration unit when it exploded. It was suggested that a cigarette lighter may have ignited a hydrocarbon refrigerant that had been retrofitted into the system.
According to the ABC News website, neither of the men were qualified in refrigeration but Mr Purtell, “a diesel mechanic by trade”, had previously worked on the unit.