Seymour resident Richard Telford experienced firsthand the importance of checking on elderly neighbours on Thursday.
Just before they headed off on an Easter camping trip, Mr Telford’s sons Kai and Sen went to say goodbye to their neighbour Marge.
After knocking on Marge’s back door and receiving no answer, the boys realised they could smell gas coming from the house.
‘‘We couldn’t rouse her and all the doors were locked, but her car was in the driveway so we knew she had to be home,’’ Mr Telford said.
‘‘She had given me a spare key so I used that to get inside.’’
Thankfully Marge was okay — she was in the bathroom at the time and hadn’t heard the boys knocking.
However, on inspection, Mr Telford found the gas on the stove had been left on, and the smell of gas was rife throughout the house.
‘‘We think it had been on all night, she might have knocked it while cleaning after making dinner,’’ Mr Telford said.
‘‘She has a gas heater too, so my fear was the gas could have hit the pilot light and the whole house could have gone up.
‘‘She hadn’t smelled a thing, probably as you get older your sense of smell reduces, and you might not notice things like you used to.
‘‘It really could have been disastrous if we hadn’t discovered the gas when we did. ‘‘She was very thankful.’’ The two have been neighbours for more than six years, and Mr Telford said their friendly relationship was important.
‘‘I think it’s so important to have a reasonable connection with your elderly neighbours,’’ he said.
‘‘We’ve built that relationship over the years and we’re often in contact and check on her regularly.’’
Mr Telford also feels it is important for people to have gas detectors installed as another measure of safety.