Chesterfield company's generator installations investigated

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – A Chesterfield company is under investigation by the state and county for allegedly failing to safely install whole-house generators. Chesterfield even got a court-ordered injunction to prevent Virginia Air Mechanical from operating, so officials can determine how many homeowners may be at risk.

NBC12 first introduced you to Paul Wilson at his Chester home after a county building inspector told him his brand new generator was simply too dangerous to use. We brought in Michael and Son to determine exactly what was wrong and the outcome is news no homeowner wants to hear.

It is as close to the worst possible outcome Paul Wilson could get.

"You do have a gas leak," explained plumber Cory Malone.

In fact, had Malone not done a leak test he said that worst nightmare would most likely become reality.

"An explosion, a fire," he described.

And that's something almost too difficult for Wilson to fathom.

"The next time I'm on the news it's because my house is on fire and my family is dead," he feared.

Michael and Son brought a plumber and electrician to examine the installation of Wilson's generator, which Virginia Air Mechanical put in for $6500. Two months later a county building inspector left a laundry list of safety hazards.

Electrician Brian Weber explained the generator is overloaded.

"You're going to stress the wires out," he explained. "They're going to start melting and you're not going to see them melt and potentially cause a fire. By the time you see it, you're going to be too late."

The owner of Virginia Air Mechanical, which has now changed its name, said his company is cooperating with authorities and "maintain that all work performed was conducted in a professional manner and is consistent with statewide codes and regulations."

But authorities disagreed and said the company's work could be putting life and property in danger.

"I couldn't sleep at night," said Weber. "I mean I really couldn't."

And as the investigation continues, the question is: who else is at risk?

"We gotta somehow keep them from doing this to someone else," Wilson said.

Chesterfield County officials simply don't know how many generators like Mr. Wilson's are out there. If you were a Virginia Air Mechanical customer and want your installation checked, call Chesterfield County at 748-1779.

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