Quick Start Guide Natural Gas Utilities
SECTION 03: KEY SAFETY MESSAGES
• Natural gas leaking into a basement exploded when a couple went to investigate the odor and turned on a light. Both individuals were severely injured, and the woman needed more than 20 surgical procedures. A neighbor had smelled the natural gas the previous day but failed to report it. • A natural gas explosion destroyed a five-story apartment building, killing eight people. Post-incident investigation revealed several residents in the building and in the area smelled gas for days but failed to report it. • After lightning struck a tracer wire in contact with a plastic service line, melting the material, natural gas permeated the surrounding ground and leaked into a house. A neighbor smelled natural gas at about midnight but failed to report it. The house exploded the next morning, killing its occupants and damaging homes on both sides. • A natural gas explosion destroyed a residence and injured a family of five. Witnesses interviewed afterward reported there had been natural gas odors for several days that had not been reported. No one called the gas company because they thought the odors were from a nearby refinery. These incidents reinforce the importance of utility Public Safety Communications Programs. Frequently, witnesses to an incident report that a gas odor had been present hours, days, or even weeks before the incident— however, witnesses rarely alert local utilities or public safety officials. Better, more effective public education about how to recognize and respond to gas leaks can help overcome this problem.
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