This Week in Natural Gas Leaks and Explosions — Jan. 17, 2012Jan 17th, 2012 | By fjgallagher | Category: Lead Articles, Natural Gas Explosions
Let’s start with explosions, since there have been so many of them lately, and finish up with leaks tomorrow, since this installment will be so lengthy … another explosion in Allentown. Yep, that Allentown, the same one — the one in Pennsylvania, only this time the blast wasn’t as big. Not like that one about year ago that killed five people. This one, on Thursday, Jan. 5, didn’t kill anyone, but it did send two utility workers to the hospital.
The Fire Geezer has a good account of the blast but some of the best coverage is on YouTube, above.
A natural gas explosion destroyed one home and severely damaged two others in Schenectady, NY, on Jan. 4. From Schenectady’s ABC TV10: “Firefighters say that neighbors smelt gas and called 911. They were told to immediately leave their home and moments later the house exploded.”
On Jan. 9, an explosion leveled a home in Lexington, KY. Media accounts note that, “neighbors say they smelled natural gas shortly before the explosion.” No one was injured.
Just a few days earlier in the same state of Kentucky, a natural gas pipeline exploded in an unpopulated area. The pipeline, which exploded early on the morning of Saturday, Jan. 7, burned until well into Sunday evening, according to media accounts. Local officials later said the explosion was the “result of a forest fire.”
Also on Jan. 9, a natural gas explosion destroyed a home in Austin, TX, killing one person and critically injuring another. From YNN Austin:
One person was transported to University Medical Center Brackenridge. At least two other homes were affected by the explosion.
Clinton Fuller lives down the street and says the blast jolted him out of bed. He and a friend ran to check on those next to the burning home.
“The house was knocked over two-and-a-half to three feet, and all the windows were blown out,” he said.
It took nearly three hours for crews to shut off natural gas to the neighborhood.
Besides keeping the fire contained to the one lot, firefighters worried the leak could spread underground.
“We don’t believe the leak extends any more than 400-500 square feet around the original site. We’re monitoring that, we are checking the houses on either side,” AFD Battalion Chief Thayer Smith said. “We are taking all the precautions we need to make sure the rest of the neighborhood is safe.”
Attention KMart Shoppers! Bargain hunters got the bejesus scared out of ‘em at a KMart in Indianapolis, IN, on Jan. 10 when a natural gas explosion razed a nearby vacant building, according to this story.
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A leaky natural gas pipeline exploded in rural northern California, sending plumes of flame as high as 1oo feet into the air on Jan. 13. From the Contra Costa Times: “The gas line is owned by a company called Vintage Productions … and … KCRA-TV in Sacramento reported that Vintage Productions is owned by Los Angeles-based Occidental Petroleum Corporation.”
Finally, NaturalGasWatch.org normally eschews covering natural gas explosions or natural gas leaks attributed to construction or excavation because they are so numerous, but this explosion clearly merits inclusion: A natural gas pipeline exploded in Rockland County, NY, on Jan. 16, destroying two homes and damaging two others and forcing the evacuation of more than 100 people. Authorities say eight people were injured in the blast, including two firefighters and two utility workers. Law enforcement officials have opened a criminal investigation into the incident and have not ruled out the notion of criminal charges; they are reportedly looking at a Verizon subcontractor who ruptured a natural gas line in the area.