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Van explosion sparks warning for holidaymakers over Easter long weekend

27 March 2024

The state's resources regulator is warning that a common cooking appliance could become a bomb on board vehicles like caravans, 4WDs and vans, if used incorrectly.

It comes after a Mount Tamborine man was badly burnt earlier this month while using a portable gas appliance in the back of his van.

Resources Safety and Health Queensland (RSHQ) investigated the incident and found the appliance was faulty.

The man, aged in his 40s, walked away from the device without realising it was leaking gas, and when he returned, it exploded.

RSHQ Gas Inspector Paul Beaumont said the man is lucky to be alive but suffered burns to 25% of his body.

"You might think this wouldn't happen to you, but when people go camping and there's wet weather, they often end up using their barbeque and gas appliances in the back of their vehicles and that's just a recipe for disaster."

RSHQ is urging holidaymakers to ensure they use portable gas appliances in well-ventilated outdoor areas and that cylinders are secure and connected correctly. 

If you're still unsure if there's a leak, mix some dishwashing soap with water in a spray bottle, and spray the solution onto the connection.

"If it bubbles, you're in trouble, because that indicates you've got a gas leak," said Mr Beaumont.

"The best thing to do then, is turn off the gas and tighten the connection, if it still leaks contact a gas fitter to check the connections."

RSHQ also recommends checking your gas cylinder is in good condition, and that the hoses haven't frayed before you set off.

"Hoses dry out and become brittle over time which can lead to cracks, and gas leaks" said Mr Beaumont.

"You can also now get LP Gas cylinders with new valves which have an inbuilt safety function that won't allow the gas to flow unless the connection has been properly made.

"It's a small cost that can save you a lot of heartache and prevent injury."

For more information on gas safety, head to RSHQ's website.

Watch RSHQ's BBQ gas safety video here.



Resources Safety and Health Queensland (RSHQ) is the regulator of safety and health legislation across Queensland’s mining, quarrying, explosives (including fireworks) petroleum and gas industries. RSHQ’s priority is the safety and health of workers and the communities they operate in, with a vision of zero serious harm.

Media contact

Amy McCann

0457 094 250

Last updated: 27 Mar 2024