More Natural Gas Explosions

Last week, two natural gas explosions occurred; one in Allentown, PA on February 9 and the second in Hanover Township, OH on February 10.  Although it is too early to know what caused these explosions, the question of an aging pipeline cannot be ignored in either case.  An accidental explosion caused by excavation equipment is bad enough and the company doing the excavation can usually be held responsible.  But, when natural gas is ignited from a leaking pipeline, there is no excuse for the placement of consumers in mortal danger.  Gas utility companies insist that the transporting of natural gas in safe. It usually is safe – until there is an explosion!  Repair and/or replacement of pipelines is an expensive process and is usually deferred until absolutely necessary. We know this because if the repair or replacement was undertaken when the leak was discovered, there would be no explosions.  Since the explosion in San Bruno on September 9 of last year, there have been five additional explosions: Wayne, MI on December 29, Philadelphia, PA on January 18, Fairport, OH on January 24, and the two mentioned above.  Another gas explosion that occurred In Nashville TN has been profiled on our website ( click on “WSMV Iteam Report”). That incident was the result of a leaking pipeline.  Before these explosions occur, the public must be made aware of the danger to which it is placed by the utility companies and demand that the management stop taking dangerous chances with the safety of its customers.

California Gas Line Explosion

Earlier this year, one of the local television stations in the Nashville Tennessee area reported on a gas explosion in a residential neighborhood. (The story can be found on our website at – click on WSMV I Team.) In that report, the gas company denied any wrongdoing even though the line was clearly their responsibility. One of the things that came out of that investigation was that the age of the pipe was approximately 20 years old at the time of the explosion. With miles and miles of pipeline, the gas company has the responsibility for making sure that the line is safe and not leaking. Safety is an obvious issue and it is in the gas company’s best interest not to have to pay for property damage and personal injury as a result of an explosion. Now, we are hearing about another gas explosion, this time in San Bruno. It has been reported that the line involved was installed in 1948 and was a 30 inch line that was classified as a high risk. Why then, do gas utility companies, let their gas lines get to the point where public safety is compromised? Surely, they consider human life more important than their pipelines. Is the economics such that the replacement of aging pipelines is more expensive than paying for property damage, personal injury and wrongful death claims? Is keeping the gas company profitable more important than spending money on pipeline improvements? The public needs to know.

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