14 Sep 2013

No one to blame for fatal explosion - grieving mother

3:44 pm on 14 September 2013

The mother of a woman killed in a gas explosion at a Watercare site in Auckland says she does not blame anyone for her daughter's death.

Philomen Gulland was killed in the blast and six others were injured at the site in Onehunga on 4 June 2011.

In Auckland District Court on Friday, Watercare was fined $81,000 for failing to protect its employees and ordered to pay $315,000 in reparation. Of that, $100,00 will go to Ms Gulland's family.

Margaret Penner, who travelled from Canada to be at the hearing, says she will never get over her daughter's death but accepts it was a tragic accident. ''It was just a tragic series of events,'' she said.

Mrs Penner was in court to hear James Millard, one of those injured, say he felt guilty for living but she says her daughter would not want anyone to feel that way.

She says the reparation money will not replace her daughter but it will help her grandchildren.

Daily struggle

The wife of one of the unjured Watercare employees says her family has been robbed of more than two years of their lives.

Harry Burnett was seriously injured in the explosion and his wife, Anne, says living with the effects is a daily struggle.

Watercare says it deeply regrets what happened and safety policies have since been reviewed.