House blown up in bid to remove fly

fire damaged building

If you have a gas barbecue or use a gas canister for cooking, whether in the house or elsewhere, take note of this reminder of why you should check gas cylinders for leaks.

In a rare household accident, an elderly French householder has got away with minor injuries that could have been much more serious.

The man was trying to swat a fly in his house using an electric fly swatter, but unfortunately an explosion was sparked by the swatter which ignited a leaking gas canister.

While the man was lucky to suffer only mild burns to his hand, his home was not so fortunate. The kitchen was blown up and the ceiling collapsed, causing his rural house to become uninhabitable.

Nobody knows what became of the fly.

How do you spot a gas leak?

Your dispensing system should be checked regularly for loose nuts and seals, and by listening for the sound of hissing. Gas can give off an unpleasant smell, but it isn’t always easy to detect.

Signs of frost or condensation on the cylinder can indicate a leak but a simple way of detecting a leak is by applying a weak solution of ammonia free soap (dishwashing liquid mixed 3:1 with water will do the job).

  • Close the valve first then apply the soapy water test with a sponge or spray.
  • Slowly open the valve to pressurise the system.
  • Check from the gas valve to the appliance attachment for the appearance of any bubbles or froth, which are an indication that you have a leak.
  • If all is well, you can rinse off your soapy suds and let it dry naturally.

If bubbles occur, close the cylinder valve, extinguish any open flames and do not operate electrical devices such as light switches, mobile phones – or fly swats!

Do not use the system before getting it inspected by a qualified professional or your gas cylinder retailer.