Family of Northampton Carlsberg worker killed in gas leak are still in the dark as to how dad-of-two died

David Chandler lost his life in a tragic ammonia leak in Northampton 18 months ago.
David Chandler lost his life in a tragic ammonia leak in Northampton 18 months ago.

The wife of an engineer who died following a gas leak at Northampton's Carlsberg factory says her family is still waiting for answers nearly 18 months after his death.

David Chandler, 45, from Bridgnorth, Shropshire, was working at the brewery firm’s site in November 2016, when he was exposed to ammonia.

David Chandler.

David Chandler.

The gas leak saw 22 people - including 11 factory staff, two police officers, and nine firefighters - taken to hospital following the incident.

Beer production shut down at the plant for more than a fortnight while an investigation took place.

The date of a nine-day inquest into Mr Chandler's death has now been set for June 19 in Northampton.

His widow, Laura, 33, is now hoping the hearing will finally provide her family with "vital" answers as to how David died.

She said: “There’s not a day goes by that we don’t miss David. He was such a loving and caring husband and dad who would do anything for his family.

“Our family always did everything together and we have been left devastated and angry by David’s death.

“While time has moved on since David’s death our family hasn’t. Our family is now incomplete and we have had to spend family birthdays and what should be other special occasions such as Christmas, not knowing the full reasons why he died.

“The only comfort I can now take is, that after more than a year, we will get to find out more about the events of the day and the circumstances surrounding David’s death.

"I know the inquest will be a distressing time but hopefully it will mean that at least we can try and move on with life the best we can.”

Mr Chandler, who was employed by Speedrite, was contracted to work at the Carlsberg brewery in 2016.

He was helping to remove a dormant compressor unit on November 9, 2016, when a disconnected valve blew, engulfing the room in ammonia.

The worker was pronounced dead two hours after the leak, leaving behind two daughters, Ava, seven, and four-year-old Isabella.

Hilary Wetherell, partner and workplace injury lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, which is representing Laura, said: “While it is only correct that a thorough investigation to establish all the facts about what happened on the day David died needed to take place, not knowing the full picture has caused a great deal of anguish for Laura and her family.

“The family rightly have a number of serious concerns about what happened on the day in question and if anything could have been done to prevent the incident. Setting a date for the inquest is a major step forward in their wish to find out the vital information they want.

“Through our work we often see the devastating consequences of what can happen if health and safety standards in the workplace drop.

“If the inquest identifies any failings in health and safety measures at the site, it is vital that lessons are learned and improvements made so other families don’t have to suffer the heartbreak that David’s family have experienced following his death.”