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Police search Paloma over gas leak death in 2005

Police search Paloma over gas leak death in 2005

Japanese police searched offices connected to water heater manufacturer Paloma on Saturday amid suspicion of professional negligence related to a fatal carbon monoxide poisoning in 2005, the company and police said.
Police searched the Nagoya headquarters of Paloma Ltd. and its manufacturing affiliate Paloma Industries, Ltd., as well as three other sites in Nagoya and Tokyo, the company said in a statement.
Paloma was cooperating with the investigations, it said.
A Tokyo Metropolitan Police spokeswoman, who refused to be identified, said investigations were underway, but declined to offer any details.
According to media reports citing unidentified sources, police suspect the company of professional negligence in a 2005 carbon monoxide poisoning allegedly involving a Paloma water heater that killed one man and hospitalized another for a month.
The government first announced last July that Paloma's water heaters were linked to 28 carbon monoxide poisoning cases reported in Japan between 1985 and 2005 that resulted in 21 deaths.
However, the 2005 incident investigated Saturday is the only case in which the five-year statute of limitations has not yet expired for professional negligence charges, the daily Asahi Shimbun and Kyodo News agency said.
The government issued an emergency order directing Paloma to recall some water heater models in August after finding some safety devices fitted on the products were prone to breaking. The models were sold only in Japan.
Paloma has denied its water heaters were to blame for the deaths. It later acknowledged, however, that some of the gas poisonings were the result of product degradation, according to media reports.


Updated : 2021-07-25 08:59 GMT+08:00