Construction firm fined over Liverpool disruption

A construction firm has been fined after a gas leak spread across Liverpool City Centre.

The incident was extremely sensitive for fire brigade officials because it was believed a massive explosion could have been sparked if any ignition was provided.

Hundreds of people had to be evacuated from in and around the former John Lewis department store in the north-western city following the leak.

However, the situation was neutralised after police officers and firemen discovered the source of the problem - a burst pipe caused by dangerous demolition work.

After hearing about the incident the Health and Safety Executive launched an investigation and found that Merepark Construction failed to notify the company in charge of dismantling the John Lewis building about the presence of gas.

Merepark Construction was fined £30,000 and told to pay £8,490 in costs following a guilty verdict handed down at Liverpool Magistrates' Court.

By Chris Stevenson