Quick Start Guide Natural Gas Utilities
SECTION 03: KEY SAFETY MESSAGES
Incidents • A natural gas water heater ignited gasoline vapors in a residential garage while a father was using gasoline to clean paint from his daughter’s clothing. Both experienced serious burns and injuries. The child died. • One summer evening, three young children were playing in their garage when they knocked over and spilled a container of gasoline. Fumes from the spilled gasoline ignited after reaching the pilot light on a water heater located in a room adjacent and open to the garage. The ensuing explosion completely engulfed the children, who suffered third-degree burns over 90% of their bodies. Their injuries will require constant care for the remainder of their lives. • A 50-year-old woman suffered second- and third-degree burns to more than 80% of her body when a natural gas- fired water heater installed in the kitchen of her home ignited gasoline vapors. The woman, her son, and his girlfriend were using the highly flammable liquid to clean paint spatters and spills from the floor of the newly remodeled kitchen. The son and his girlfriend escaped without injury, but the woman was engulfed in flames. She reportedly could not recall the first three months of her hospitalization due to slipping in and out of consciousness during that time. These types of incidents can almost always be prevented through minor behavioral modification and correct appliance installation. Additionally, many natural gas operators have the opportunity to observe and, if qualified, correct dangerous situations involving flammable liquids when they enter customer premises, light pilots, service natural gas appliances, or otherwise witness natural gas appliance installation and operation.
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