Residents left shivering

Big chill: Morwell public housing tennant Ron Beveridge is freezing while waiting for his heater to be serviced. photograph laura ferguson

Big chill: Morwell public housing tennant Ron Beveridge is freezing while waiting for his heater to be serviced. photograph laura ferguson

Latrobe Valley public housing tenants have been left shivering in their units while they continue to wait for the Department of Housing to test or replace dangerous gas heaters.

Morwell pensioner Ron Beveridge was told his gas heater would be tested for deadly carbon monoxide fumes more than two months ago but the department has been a no-show.

"This is really annoying because they knew about this problem since last year but they have done nothing about it. I'd like it bloody fixed, I'm beyond patience," the 82-year-old said.

"When I first rang them to say I had a suspect heater, they told me to disconnect it and someone would be out in seven days to look at it, but no one has been near me."

Department of Health and Human Services sent letters to public housing tenants earlier this year warning them not to use Pyrox or Vulcan Heritage gas heaters because of unsafe levels of carbon monoxide.

The warning followed a coronial recommendation after a Greensborough woman died from the deadly fumes last year.

Mr Beveridge said the department had offered him a small oil or electric heater to use in the interim and had offered him energy-use compensation.

Instead he has borrowed a heater from a community member but at times has to run it through the night to adequately warm his house. Member for Morwell Russell Northe was contacted by several residents this week with the same problem and raised the matter with Housing Minister Martin Foley in Parliament this week.

A DHHS spokeswoman said 34 heaters were due to be replaced at the Maryvale Crescent block and half were space heaters.

The remaining wall furnaces will be serviced, and if they pass testing can continue to be used until they are upgraded. Temporary heaters will be delivered as soon as possible.

"Works are underway to upgrade the properties within the estate. As part of the upgrade works, all open flue gas heaters in this estate will be replaced," the spokeswoman said.

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