Christchurch heater sales office closes amid links to multiple fires

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Mar 26, 2024 |

Serene Industries offices in Hornby

The Christchurch based sales office of a heater company has closed in the wake of revelations that its heaters were linked to 15 fires or overheating incidents.

Serene heaters, manufactured in March 2021 have a manufacturing defect which can cause harm to people or damage to property the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment said in a statement.

They were made overseas but Serene Industries Limited Christchurch’s sales office was based out of Hornby.

Its UK office appears to be still active, according to online documents.

WorkSafe issued a prohibition of sale and use notice on Serene S2068 wall mounted bathroom heaters in February 2024.

Now the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment has worked with several retailers to issue voluntary recall notices.

Spokesman Ian Caplin said ““we are aware of at least 15 fires or overheating events associated with these heaters and want to encourage anyone who has these heaters to contact the retailer immediately.”

“They closed their business which has changed the usual path of voluntary recalls.”

Instead of the actual manufacturer issuing a recall, retailers who sold the heaters have been encouraged to voluntarily recall them.

Screenshot of Serene Industries Limited website notice

Serene Industries’ global website said on its website “It is with great regret that we advise that the business of Serene Industries Limited has needed to close.

We had expected to work long-term with a New Zealand partner but finally, this has not proved to be possible.”

The cellphones for its two Hong Kong based directors Alexander Woodward and Christopher Woodward were disconnected.

The company’s former sales manager Auckland based Chris Ahern didn’t answer his phone or return text messages.

MBIE Spokesman Ian Caplin said “even if the retailer that sold the heater hasn’t yet issued the voluntary recall, New Zealanders can reject the goods under the Consumer Guarantees Act and ask for a replacement or a refund.”

Caplin said that retailers in New Zealand have a responsibility to provide consumers with a remedy when a product is deemed unsafe.

“If the heater was wired directly into your house rather than plugged into a wall socket, you can also require the supplier to arrange for its removal by an electrician.”

WorkSafe is investigating two other Serene bathroom heaters, models S2069 and S207T. Under recent testing these did not comply with required safety standards.

Once these investigations are complete, MBIE will decide if further voluntary recalls should be asked for.

Information on recalled heater:

The prohibited S2068 heater is described as:

  • Wall mounted fan heater with step-down thermostat with pull-cord on-off switch, for fixed-wired installation in bathrooms and similar locations

  • Mirror polished stainless steel metal shell or white shell with die cast grill

  • Dimensions: 300 mm wide, 210 mm high and 110 mm deep.

The prohibited S2068 heaters have a serial number in the following ranges:

  • VH145173 – VH147003

  • VK154294 – VK160567

  • WF167045 – WF168874

Serene Heater Voluntary Recall Suppliers

CORRECTION: The sales office was based out of Hornby, not the manufacturing

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

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