Minister for Energy Joe Mizzi said in Parliament that no gas cylinder had been withdrawn from public consumption because it was defective. Minister Mizzi was replying to questions raised by opposition MP Claudette Buttigieg following the recent spate of fires reputedly caused by gas cylinders.
Minister Mizzi said that the first fire which had taken place in Paola had been caused by a kitchen appliance. Even though the gas cylinder was not part of the equation in the fire, it was still tested and found to be safe, and therefore there was no reason for the cylinder to be withdrawn from the market.
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In the case of the fire in Qawra, Minister Mizzi said that the fire had been caused by a small leak emanating from a deteriorated rubber pipe. He said that expert reports indicate that it seems likely that the small leak ignited from a spark given that the connection was near to an electrical point. In this case too, the gas cylinder was tested and found to be safe with no leaks and therefore in this case too, it was not withdrawn.
Minister Mizzi said that in neither of these two cases was it deemed necessary to hold a magisterial inquiry.
Regular Checks on Cylinders
A magisterial inquiry is, however being held in the case of the Msida fire. Minister Mizzi said that the inquiry is being conducted as a person died. Referring also to previous answers which he had given in parliament on the same subject, Minister Mizzi said that it does not appear that the cases are in any way related. He added that regular checks are carried out on gas cylinders to assess their structural integrity and that they conform to industry standards. These assessments are carried out every 10 years and the cylinders are re-certified or scrapped. The certification process, said the minister is well documented and on-the spot assessments are made continuously. Similarly, checks are also carried out on the regulators and the valves, to ensure that these too conform to EU standards. The tests are rigorous and continuous, said Minister Mizzi, and are carried out in accredited laboratories. Those who place these items on the market are ultimately held responsible to ensure that the specifications conform to law and industry standards and are safe for use.