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Laing O’Rourke pays tribute to worker killed by blast

Laing O’Rourke has paid tribute to employee Adam Johnston, who was killed in an explosion in Hertfordshire last week, describing him as a “reliable employee and devoted family man”.

The Police and the Health and Safety Executive are investigating the death of Mr Johnston, who was in the blast at the Mundells, near Welwyn Garden City. The incident is understood to have occurred when an argonite gas cylinder used for a fire suppression system exploded in a building under construction.

The 38-year-old, from Sutton in south London, was a plumber employed by Crown House Data Solutions - a subsidiary of Laing O’Rourke.

On Monday, Laing O’Rourke posted a tribute to Mr Johnston - nicknamed Clubbie - on its website. Crown House managing director Liam Cummins said in the tribute that the incident had been “felt intensely by everyone who knew him and by our business as a whole”.

He added: “Adam was a popular member of the team and a devoted family man. He will be deeply missed by his colleagues and the thoughts of the whole of Crown House and the wider Laing O’Rourke Group are with his wife Michelle, their two children and the family at this time.”

Mr Cummins said Mr Johnston “earned a reputation for producing high quality work and for being a diligent, hardworking and reliable employee with a great sense of humour”.

Crown House is providing support and counselling to Mr Johnston’s family. Laing O’Rourke said that it would co-operate fully with the investigation.

Mr Johnston joined the Crown House Data Solutions team at Welwyn as an advanced plumber and gas service engineer - he worked on a number of projects including the Arora Hotel project at Heathrow.
Seven other people were injured in the explosion. As Construction News went to press, one of the injured remained in a serious but stable condition in Queen Elizabeth II Hospital in Welwyn Garden City.
Laing has closed the site and announced that work will not resume until the on-site investigation by the police and the Health and Safety Executive is finished.

Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue group commander Jon Smith said the explosion had caused “widespread damage”.